It’s time for German supermarket chain Edeka’s annual Christmas ad. And rather than being super macabre, it’s super heartwarming.
Edeka, of course, had the most notoriously dark Christmas ad of 2015, a spot that went viral around the world. But 2016’s edition manages to remain relatively straightforward, while still delivering a delightful twist ending.
It opens with—and remains dedicated, for the most part, to—familiar scenes of holiday season bustle and stress. Parents dash around trying to buy gifts, and cook, and clean, and shovel the walk, put on their winter tires, and tend to other tedious business.
All the while, their children wait around, bored out of their minds, wishing someone would play with them, and getting no satisfaction.
A solo piano soundtrack acts as a perfect bed for a nursery rhyme narrating the indignities, from the perspective of the kids, who resort to pulling all kinds of faces. In one of the ad’s best moments, a girl even goes so far as to snip off a chunk of her hair—and still doesn’t get a reaction—while her mom obsesses over baking a cake.
Agency: Jung von Matt/Alster
About two-thirds of the way through the ad (spoilers ahead), the message completely and cleverly reverses. Newspapers go ignored, dishes pile up in the sink and laundry sits wrinkled on the ironing board, while parents focus on spending time with their offspring.
“The best gift is time spent with you,” reads the tagline.
It’s a beautiful, anti-materialistic payoff. Sure, it’s broad, but it’s deftly executed. And the about-face makes it feel fresh. It’s also a good fit for the brand, subtly emphasizing food’s role in bringing people together, while telling a bigger story about the importance of family, and thereby engendering good will.
And perhaps best of all, it does it all without anyone faking their own death.