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A ‘Disney’ Feeling End of Year Commercials

As reflected in many of this year’s holiday season commercials, American animator and film producer Walt Disney’s enterprising spirit of family entertainment creativity, can still be felt in the universally vibrant, and inventive craft of animation filmmaking.

In 1937 his pioneering animation techniques and film production innovations, came to sensational fruition in ‘Walt Disney’s Snow White and Seven Dwarfs’, screened in cinemas across the world, as the worlds first cel-animated feature film, and the first animated film in Technicolor.

He brought the art of animation to global prominence as a professional, ‘movie-making’ craft, for a new genre of family entertainment films,

Walt Disney’s continuing feature length animation endeavours in the decades that followed, garnered 22 Oscars from 59 nominations, making him the record holder of the most Academy Awards ever earned by an individual.

1. Walt Disney Studios, From Our Family To Yours

Produced in-house by Disney Channel UK, in support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation that helps fulfill the wishes of children with a critical illness, the online short-story film, was directed by Angela Affinita, brand and creative marketing director at Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Working alongside specialist New Zealand-based animation studio Flux, the scenario about Lola and her granddaughter, took six months to develop involving much research in reviewing archive imagery, and referencing Angela’s personal experiences of growing up with her Filipina grandmother and making star lanterns.

A standard computer 3D rendering pipeline, as used in feature length animation productions, resulted in an impressively crafted film of great detail featuring a little dog, treasured possessions, and family photographs.

Supported by a resonating soundtrack of ‘Love is a Compass’ by English singer and songwriter, Sarah Faith Griffiths, the commercial motivated one million global views in a mere three days after its release.

2. McDonald’s, Inner Child

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, London, UK

Production Companies: Passion Pictures Animation Studio London, UK, and specialists in CG, 2D and stop-motion animation, Againstallods.

The insightful scenario is about a single Mum trying to uplift her teenage son Tom’s gloomy disposition by awakening his ‘inner child’ Christmas spirit.

The commercial, in support of the FareShare charity’s aim of providing one million meals to families in need this Christmas, is the fourth of McDonald’s #ReindeerReady campaign series of promoting holiday season offers of healthy carrot, ‘reindeer’ snacks.

The soundtrack is by British singer and songwriter Becky Hill’s remake of the German synth-pop band Alphaville’s iconic song, ‘Forever Young’.

3. Erste Group Bank AG, Edgar’s Christmas

Advertising Agency: Jung von Matt/DONAU, Vienna, Austria

Production Company: Passion Pictures Animation Studio, London, UK

Headquartered in Vienna, Austria, The Erste Group Bank’s ‘Edgar’s Christmas’ animation commercial, is about Marie, an optimistic caregiver who with kindness and persistence, helps the ageing composer Edgar reconnect to his past passions, and prevents him from increasingly withdrawing into himself.

On the ‘Creative Boom’ website portal, Erste Group Bank spokesperson Martin Radjaby-Rasset, underlined the creative insight of the commercial’s empathic message.

Loneliness and isolation have been the defining themes of this pandemic year. Unfortunately, that is likely to remain true for most people also during the Christmas season, when we would usually get a chance to be close to our family and friends”.

“We wanted to show what’s possible when people are there for each other and when they believe in themselves and others, especially in these times.”

The soundtrack is by Mcasso Music Studios, London, Composer Mike MacLennan, and the Budapest Scoring Orchestra.

4. Aldi Budget Supermarket, Kevin The Carrot

Advertising Agency: McCann, London, UK

This year marks the return of Aldi’s much loved, family entertainment ‘Vegie-Superhero’, Kevin The Carrot, in his fifth holiday season adventure.

The commercial was produced by Stink Films UK, and the Psyop Animation Studio duo of Todd Mueller and Kylie Matulick.

Oscar winning actor Jim Broadbent, who stars as Santa, is also the narrator of Kevin’s escapades of being ejected from a fighter jet by his turkey co-pilot, his parachute catching fire, landing in thick snow, hopping a ride on Harry the hedgehog, and finally meeting up with his idol, Father Christmas.

With a nod to Spielberg’s E.T., Kevin is wrapped up in a blanket, and taken home by Santa on his magical bicycle to arrive in time for Christmas.

The soundtrack by SixtyFour Music Productions is a superbly recorded mix of resonant movie theme songs from Home Alone, Pirates of the Caribbean, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

5. Toyotathon, The Journey

Advertising Agency: Conill, Miami, Florida, USA

LOBO Creative Design Studio, based in São Paulo and New York, produced Toyota’s ‘The Journey’ commercial in both English and Spanish, with animation directors Mateus De Paula Santos, Felipe Machado and Tiago Marcondes.

The charmingly sentimental scenario about the precious gift of family bonding this holiday season, features a delightful soundtrack of an original song “Here for you”, written and performed, by singer/songwriter Stacey Walker.


6. GOSH Children’s Charity, Home for Christmas

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London, UK

DDB’s celebratory commercial for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, animated by Dutch illustrator and filmmaker Marlies van der Wel, pays tribute to supporters of the hospital and its dedicated staff, for their tireless efforts, in a pandemic year of extremely trying times, to reunite children with their families for Christmas

The enchanting, dreamlike-depiction of Mia, who was only three years old when she submitted to GOSH with a rare neurological condition, returning home to a joyful Christmas reunion with her elder sister Amy, is underscored by acclaimed pianist/composer Pieter de Graaf’s soulful soundtrack.

Proceeds from the Christmas campaign will help fund pioneering research programmes, state-of-the-art medical technology, and other vital support initiatives.

7. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Poochini’s Love Story

Advertising Agency: Red Fuse Communications, VMLY&R, USA

Red Fuse Communications is WPP’s full-service, integrated global agency, dedicated to serving all of Colgate-Palmolive’s brands worldwide.

The Hill’s love story campaign was produced by Bipolar Studios in Los Angeles, and directed by Colin Levy, who is known for his notable animation work at Pixar.

The Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen an unprecedented amount of new pets being welcomed into homes this year, has highlighted just how valued pets are for comforting companionship, physical well being, and mental health.

The Hill’s ‘Poochini Love Story’ about an old lady and her adored canine is about the desire to show love to one’s pets by treating them to that extra snack, that can cause them to become overweight; a detrimental health problem that affects 55 to 60% of household pets.

8. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Moto’s Love Story

Advertising Agency: Red Fuse Communications VMLY&R, USA

The Hill’s ‘ Moto Love Story’ about a loveable feline, also superbly animated by Bipolar Studios and director Colin Levy, highlights again how our emotional interactions with household pets affect the way we feed them.


9. A Rollin’ Christmas

From Passion Pictures Animation Studios, London, UK comes an entertaining Christmas greeting from ‘Rollin’ Wild’ creators Kyra Buschor and Constantin Paeplow.

The popular ‘Rollin’ Wild’ animation series of overweight animals are based on a project at the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg.