Online retailer Very.co.uk is the first big British brand to unveil its Christmas work this year, with a campaign that aims to capture the build up to Christmas in an authentic and humorous way that eschews the usual cliches.
The hero spot, created by Grey London and directed by Gary Freedman at Independent Films, broke on TV Sunday night during the "Pride of Britain" awards. It starts off with what looks like a typical Christmas ad, with a family serving up turkey and a voiceover about the “magical moments” of Christmas. However, we quickly cut to a “real” family watching it on TV with expressions of disgust. “What a load of rubbish,” says the father.
The mother then goes on to describe the moments she loves about the holiday—neighbors' Christmas lights causing a power outage, the tree being too tall for the room, cheesy festive music, arguing over decorations and peeking at hidden gifts.
“It’s about trying to find the magic in the raw and real approach that we as humans have for this moment,” says Javier Campopiano, chief creative officer at Grey Europe and creative chairman of Grey London. “We found a great director and great casting, with a protagonist who conveys all those qualities of honesty and truthfulness. In a way it doesn’t feel like an ad; it feels more like a sitcom.”
“What we tried to do is focus on the build up, rather than that big Christmas day cliche," adds Racquel Chicourel, chief strategy officer at Grey London. "The things that make Christmas are these small moments in the build up for Christmas: when you put up decorations, when you buy the tree.”
The campaign will continue throughout the holiday period with several different follow-up spots featuring the same family as well as out-of-home, online and print. It builds on the brand’s new platform by Grey, “Life is this very moment,” which debuted last month with an autumnal spot featuring a little girl's monologue. Grey was appointed to the business in May. Very's advertising was previously handled by St. Luke's, which had created several animated Christmas spots for the brand.
Campopiano says the idea for the platform hadn’t changed much since the agency started pitching for the Very business at the beginning of the year, despite the coronavirus pandemic. “When we first started, the world was completely different," he says. "The crazy thing is, the platform survived the pandemic. It actually became more relevant.”
"Creating anything for this Christmas was quite possibly the most challenging thing any of us had done since we started in advertising," adds Chicourel. "There’s so much uncertainty. However, Christmas is not canceled. People are shopping for presents earlier and there is a yearning for something good in our lives."