Apple’s 2023 holiday season advertising campaign, “Fuzzy Feelings”, Set in London, UK, the 3.55 minute commercial features a woman whose feelings of resentment at her treatment in the office are creatively played out in her home animation studio. We are introduced to her boss walking down Devonshire Rd in Chiswick, London. His stingy actions are followed by a series of unfortunate incidents, set to George Harrison’s 1970 track “Isn’t it a pity”. The camera pans out to reveal the woman using an iPhone 15 Pro Max to capture her stop motion film project, using a 15-inch MacBook Air with an M2 to edit it. Time and time again, her disappointment at her treatment in the office is played out in cruel pay-back animation. Finally, however, the boss turns up in real life with a thoughtful Christmas gift, and is revealed to be human after all. The ad finishes with the tagline, “You make the holidays”. Apple’s notes on the YouTube video invites viewers to see one another with generosity. “Creativity has the power to change the way we see each other, and the world. Sometimes, seeing things through a new lens can make all the difference.”
John Lewis & Partners, the UK department store chain, has traditionally produced one of the UK’s most memorable and creative Christmas TV adverts each year. And this year is no exception. This year’s campaign, with the tagline, “Let Your Traditions Grow”, features a light-hearted throwback to the Little Shop of Horrors films (1960 and 1986) and stage play (1982). A young boy discovers a grow-your-own fast-growing “Perfect Christmas Tree” pack in a market. He plants the acorn-like seed, only to discover that it’s a life-size Venus flytrap with a playful personality, keen to join in the Christmas festivities. Unfortunately Snapper’s continued growth leads to banishment to the back yard. The ending suggests that while Snapper feeds on care and Christmas festivity, the plant has a spirit of giving.
Sandy Hook Promise’s Back to School Essentials PSA has won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Commercial. The public service advertisement, launched across the USA in September 2019, starts off as a familiar back-to-school sales promotion but slowly unfolds to highlight students using everyday back-to-school items to survive an outbreak of gun violence. Sneakers, skateboards, scissors, staplers and phones are presented as the essentials for surviving a school shooting. The Back to School ad shines a light on anxiety young people and their parents experience as they face the risk of ongoing classroom and campus shootings. Shocking? Yes. Deliberately so.
IKEA Spain has released “Yo Me Quedo En Casa” (I Stay Home), a commercial designed as an ode to the home as refuge during the COVID-19 pandemic. The advertising campaign encourages viewers to celebrate their home, a place where in a simple and improvised way they can enjoy leisure and work in a new way, approaching their time of isolation with imagination, love, patience and a sense of humour. The #YoMeQuedoEnCasa campaign includes by a series of digital elements with which the brand invites all of us to see our house from a different perspective and to make it a place where during this time, we can enjoy new experiences and sensations together.
NO MORE and National Domestic Violence Hotline are running an advertising campaign aimed at people who have recently started working from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Listening from home campaign, designed to be co-branded with other organisations, raises awareness of the increased danger being experienced by victims who are caught at home with their abusers. Like Covid-19, signs of abuse are not always visible. The campaign informs people about the warning signs, encourages them to get help if they hear or observe incidents of domestic violence and asks for donations to support the helpline’s response efforts. Poster ads, run on social media and outdoors, present women alone indoors, with the grim reminder that they’ve been been isolated and living in fear, for months, or even for years.
Many congregations in my patch, the Port Phillip East Presbytery in Melbourne, are having a go at running online versions of their worship services for the benefit of members staying at home during the Australian response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a time of creativity, with lots of learning through experimentation. I’ve put together a few tips for online worship, relating to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Churchonline and Zoom media channels. “It’s Church, but not as we know it”, is a reference to a meme that emerged from Startrek’s Mr Spock in conversation with Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise. Moving to a new medium, with up to five people in the room with a camera, means that we have freedom to rethink how we gather dispersed people in a worship experience.
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