So far, the overriding theme in the U.K.'s crop of Christmas commercials seems to be: go big, or go home. There's now more tiptoeing around the Covid regulations of last year, with depictions of parties, gatherings and, in TK Maxx's ad, a school concert sans masks (something that would not have been anywhere near legal 12 months ago.)
This year's effort from longtime agency Wieden + Kennedy London is directed by Raine Allen-Milller, who helmed last year's funny Tesco ad, and it has the brand's trademark quirky humor, but also a whole lot of fun. It starts out at what looks to be a rather staid "Festive Comeback Concert" with an eccentric teacher enthusiastically introducing a nervous looking boy, Laurie, sitting at an old-fashioned organ.
Parents look at their phones dismissively as he stumbles through the first chords. But then, egged on by his family, Laurie looks down at his shiny new boots, an early Christmas present. The footwear inspires him to launch into Aerosmith's "Walk this Way," eventually leaping up onto the keyboard (which transforms into an electronic one) and playing with his boots. At one point, his father comments that "we thought we should come back with a bang this year "-- a fitting description of what advertisers seem to be doing this holiday season.
The film is airing in four versions – 20, 30 and 60 seconds for TV and two minutes for online. It's TK Maxx’s biggest Christmas campaign to date, airing on TV in Poland, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands for the first time, in addition to the U.K .and Ireland.
The TV ad will be supported with print, digital, social and PR and a pan-European partnership with TikTok, where people are invited to participate in the #TKMaxxTalentShow against a specially created backdrop. The actor who plays Laurie will also be lending his support to TK Maxx’s Christmas charitable initiative, Dance, Donate, Nominate - people can copy him performing a specially choreographed dance routine, share their own attempt on social media and then nominate a friend or family member to do the same, while donating to charity.
“We want to celebrate what we hope will be a Christmas of joyful optimism - with community, family and fun at its heart," said Deborah Dolce, group director at TK Maxx, in a statement. "This charming ad is an upbeat, colourful and super-shiny reminder that when you find the right gift for someone, and it’s special to them, the impact and happiness you might create knows no bounds.”