Kroger’s emotional 2023 holiday ad celebrates the cultural connections of food

Home-cooked meals from Mexico, Japan and beyond are featured in the animated campaign

Published On
Nov 01, 2023
3d animated multicultural family celebrating holiday at table

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Surplus Halloween candy has barely cleared from supermarket shelves, but that hasn’t stopped Kroger from quickly getting into the Christmas spirit, with the company releasing its annual holiday ad campaign this morning that centers on the heartfelt, culinary connection between a generation of foreign exchange students and their loving host family.

Starring the grocer’s trademark “Kroji” characters (a portmanteau of Kroger and emoji), the 74-second animated film, dubbed “Cuisine Exchange,” opens with a childless couple welcoming a young Mexican pupil named Valentina into their home. Upon realizing she’s homesick, they set out to comfort her by cooking pozole for dinner—with ingredients purchased from Kroger, of course.

The traditional Mexican stew seems to abate her uneasiness, but soon she has to return home. 

The couple, though, soon welcome more exchange students——from Japan, Denmark and more—while “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran crescendos in the background. And the couple are in for a surprise at the end, as the campaign tagline “Food connects us all” settles over the table.


“Cuisine Exchange” was developed by adam&eveDDB New York. The animation was handled by Hornet, with Yves Geleyn and Mike Thurmeier co-directing.

This year’s push somewhat echoes Kroger’s 2022 holiday campaign, which focused on a “magical cookbook” that helped a grandfather relive fond memories. Both spots feature animated “Kroji” and heartwarming themes, both have similar running times, and both were directed by Geleyn and Thurmeier.

“If you think about our approach this year versus last year, we really celebrated holiday memories through a lifetime of different meals. This year’s film builds on that idea … that food is a big part of holiday memories,” said Tom Duncan, Kroger’s head of marketing.

The national campaign will run across cable TV and streaming in the form of 30- and 60-second cuts from today through Dec. 31. Additional radio, podcast and social media elements will also receive a “staggered” rollout in the weeks leading up to Christmas, Duncan said.

In mid-November, Kroger also plans to launch a campaign extension via its “Holiday Table” program, created with Dentsu Creative, in which international guests will exchange personal recipes and stories with people from across the U.S. in a series of social videos. Additionally, the company is releasing a “Holiday Remix” Spotify playlist full of classic holiday songs recorded in a variety of languages to complement its multicultural ad.


Nov 01, 2023
Client :
Agency :
adam&eveDDB-New York
Caroline Winterton
Managing Director :
James Rowe
Global Chief Creative Officer :
Richard Brim
Head of Strategy :
Amanda Peters
Group Executive Creative Director :
Mat Bisher
Executive Creative Director :
Paulo Junger
Executive Creative Director :
Jason Ashlock
Associate Creative Director :
Rafael Oliveira
Creative Director :
Vinicius Fernandes
Creative Director :
Mussashi Shintaku
Creative Director :
Patrick Conlon
Executive Director of Production :
Teri Altman
Senior Producer :
Bree Hopenwasser
Associate Producer :
Christopher Lane
Executive Director :
Alan Perlman
Group Business Director :
Natascha Vega
Account Director :
Jessica Miller
Senior Account Executive :
Olivia Jacobson
Senior Program Manager :
Camille Coklow
Program Manager :
Madeline Foster
Stuart Aiken
VP Head of Marketing :
Tom Duncan
Senior Director Brand Marketing :
Emily Hartmann
Director Corporate Communications :
Erin Rolfes
Senior Brand Manager :
Karrie Pukstas
Brand Manager :
Lindsey Hasis
Assistant Brand Manager :
Kate Mosure
Brand Specialist :
Kendall Weems
Production Company :
Director :
Yves Geleyn
Director :
Mike Thurmeier
Managing Partner :
Hana Shimizu
Director of Production :
Karen Lawler
Head of Creative Development :
Kristin Labriola
Executive Producer :
Alex Unick
Head of Production :
Dez Stavracos
Producer :
Heather Hardin
Senior Editor :
Anita Chao
Assistant Editor :
Cole Bannick
Production Coordinator :
Karla Palacios
Talent Coordinator :
Jon Chun
Storyboard Artist :
Camillo Clauser
Character Designer :
Hannah Kim
Character Designer :
Tom Humber
Art Director :
Michael Knapp
CG Supervisor :
George Smaragdis
CG Lead :
Pakorn Bupphavesa
Comp Lead :
Carl Mok
CG Generalist :
Angeline Rivera
CG Generalist :
Natalia Perez Melendez
CG Generalist :
Nelson Mai
CG Generalist :
Daniel Lombardi
CG Generalist :
Nick Wergin
Character Modeler :
Constance Bensen
Set Modeler :
Alex Levenson
Rigging :
Carlos Sandoval
Rigging :
Chris Hill
Light/Render :
Cody Chen
Light/Render :
Mirelle Underwood
Light/Render :
Nicole Noel
Light/Render :
Sylvia Apostol
Compositor :
Nicole Noel
Compositor :
Paulo Dias
Compositor :
Shandy Tim
Compositor :
Eric Concepcion
Animator :
Chris Mayne
Animator :
Hee Jin Kim
Animator :
Kaitlin Yu
Animator :
Matt Parent
Animator :
Matthew Corsillo
Animator :
Meg Oswalt
Animator :
Nicholas Christie
Animator :
Tania Florit

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