'Hidden Figures' Director Theodore Melfi Helms Coke's Holiday Ad About a Modern-Day Santa and Elf

Spot by Pereira & O'Dell Ties in With Bottles Bearing Messages of Thanks

Published On
Dec 06, 2017

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Coca-Cola is basing its global holiday campaign around thank yous. It includes redesigned packaging and a film about a modern-day Santa and elf who each give and get something in return, helmed by Oscar-nominated director Theodore Melfi ("Hidden Figures").

According to the agency behind the effort, Pereira & O'Dell, the campaign is running globally, although Coke says not in the U.S. It includes special edition Christmas packaging for Original Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Coca-Cola Light. Bottles and cans feature 30 messages of thanks including "Thank you for creating magic," "Thank you for wrapping the gifts beautifully," "Thank you for spreading Christmas cheer," "Thank you for stuffing the stockings," and "Thank you for singing out-of-tune carols."

Accompanying the cans are a short film, directed by Melfi, that tells the story of Scott, a mall elf who overstates his Christmas enthusiasm while trying to impress a girl (he tells her he has a 30-foot Christmas tree). Then he meets Santa, whose sleigh is broken, so like any modern buddies, they share a cab ride. Together with the driver, they deliver some gifts--and Scott ends up with the tree he only imagined. The performances are stilted and it's a predictably sugary ending, but there are some cute touches--like when Santa can't work out how to share a ride on his cab app (we've all been there).

The film will be running in-cinema and on digital and social platforms and supported by above the line elements including Facebook effects that create interactive video masks as Santa or Coca-Cola's polar bears. Coke is one of the first global brands to partner with Facebook to launch branded effects.