Santa struggles through a war zone in this powerful Red Cross film

Hard-hitting ad by Adam&Eve/DDB offers an alternative holiday message

Published On
Nov 29, 2018

Editor's Pick

A powerful new charity film from the International Committee of the Red Cross features Santa Claus, but with an alternative holiday message.

The ad portrays a dusty, mournful-looking Santa struggling through a war zone, witnessing devastation, violence and fear on his journey to the incongruous music track of "Happy Holidays." Eventually, he reaches his destination; a bare and damaged apartment where a frightened child sits waiting. However, as she reaches out to touch him, he disappears and we are reminded that "the only gift some children want for Christmas this year is their family." The film ends on a more positive note, with the girl reunited with her family by an ICRC worker and the message that the charity helps families torn apart by migration and conflict. 

Mike Sutherland & Ant Nelson, executive creative directors at creative agency Adam&Eve/DDB, say in a statement: “The festive season is usually a time for family, gifts and celebration.  But sadly, this is not the case for hundreds of children, torn apart from their families by conflict and natural disaster.  We wanted to create a film that showed what Christmas is like for these children.  At the same time, we wanted to create something that would cut through the usual Christmas schmaltz.”

Gary Freedman directed the ad via Independent, and it's running globally in markets including U.K., France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Portugal, North America, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Peru.


Nov 29, 2018
Client :
International Committee of the Red Cross
Agency :
Adam & Eve/DDB
Communications Manager :
Jenni Smout
Chief Creative Officer :
Richard Brim
Executive Creative Director :
Ant Nelson
Executive Creative Director :
Mike Sutherland
Copywriter :
Mike Sutherland
Art Director :
Ant Nelson
Agency Project Manager :
Amy Waldman
Head of Film :
Ben Sharpe
Agency Producer :
Rosie Grayson
Planner :
Hannah Mackenzie
Business Director :
Mike Stern
Account Director :
Emily Stewart
Designer/Typographer :
Scott Silvey
Production Company :
Executive Producer :
Jani Guest
Executive Producer :
Verity White
Producer :
Jacob Swan Hyam
Director of Photography :
Benoit Soler
Cinematographer :
Benoit Soler
Editing Company :
The Play Room
Editor :
Adam Spivey
Post Production :
Post Producer :
Grace Thorpe
Post Producer :
Phil Whalley
VFX Supervisor :
Dan Lorenzini
2D Artist :
Dan Lorenzini
2D Artist :
Jack Stone
2D Artist :
Fraser Cleland
Colorist :
Matthieu Toullet
Music Supervisor :
Leland Music
Audio Post Production :
Wave Studios
Music Supervision :
Leland Music
Music Supervisor :
Codie Childs
Composer :
Irving Berlin
Publisher :
Universal Music Publishing
Director :
Gary Freedman
Social Versioning :
Gutenberg Global
Song :
Happy Holiday
Artist :
Frankie Vaughan
Record Label :
Pickwick Group

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