Need a Bit of Holiday Warmth? This Ad’s Animated Tale of a Nervous Elf Is on Par With Pixar

Swiss retailer Manor and BETC craft a festive sequel

An elf attempts to save himself from becoming a child's Christmas gift in department store Manor's holiday ad. BETC
Headshot of David Griner

There are typically two approaches to creating an ad with global appeal. The less interesting (but more common) way is to simply strip away all details and unique elements until it’s stylized to the point of being universally generic.

But the best global ads instead tell a universal story, one that anyone on Earth can follow and appreciate. And that’s what Swiss department store Manor and agency BETC have accomplished with the brand’s 2018 holiday spot.

Building on the magical world created for the retailer’s 2017 holiday ad, which you can see below, the new spot, “The Gift,” shows a young boy who stumbles into witnessing how Santa and his elves prepare toys for Christmas.

Instead of asking for the most extravagant toy that such a fantastical factory could make, though, he’s more interested in one specific thing he saw during his peek through the doorway:

The spot was produced by Passion Paris and directed by the AgainstAllOdds collective, the team behind several of advertising’s most popular animated pieces from around the world. AgainstAllOdds worked on the 2015 Spanish Lottery ad Justino, which won the Cyber Grand Prix at the 2016 Cannes Lions. More recently, you might recognize their work on that unnervingly sexy Mr. Clean ad.

This year’s ad is a direct continuation of last year’s Manor holiday spot from the same animation team. In that ad, which featured the client a bit more directly, a young boy’s confusing sketch of his Christmas wish set the North Pole into a full panic as they tried to figure out what he truly wanted:

While perhaps a more enjoyable ride than the new installment, the 2017 spot lacked any real sense of closure or fulfillment, but the 2018 iteration more than makes up for it with a delightful conclusion for everyone involved.


Client: Manor
Client Management:
Stéphane Maquaire – Directeur général, Manor
Sandra Kottenauer – Brand director, Manor
Jennifer Frame – Head of non-food communication, Manor

Agency: BETC
Agency Management:
Nathalie Jacquier
Charlotte Picq
Elodie Monsallier
Executive Creative Director: Rémi Babinet
Creative Directors: David Soussan and Marie-Eve Schoettl
Copywriter: Nathalie Dupont –
Art Directors: Francis de Ligt and Fanny Branger (DA Assistant)
Traffic: Alexandra Chini
TV Producer: David Brakha –

Production: Passion Paris –
Director: AgainstAllOdds

Sound Production: Schmooze –
Compositor: Sanjiv Sen

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."
Publish date: November 14, 2018 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT