In this fanciful holiday ad for Mondelēz’s Milka chocolate, an enterprising alpine lad just can’t wait a whole month for Christmas to arrive. So, he constructs a cool steampunk-style time machine in a bid to travel into the mysterious, eggnog-scented future of 2412 … the 24th of December, that is.
Impatient brat! Hey, H.G. Wells Jr., Santa keeps his own schedule! Anyway, thanks to his family, a sweet surprise awaits the little dickens once he reaches his destination.
The festive ad is extremely well executed by Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, of Amélie fame, who calls the 90-second film rolling out in European markets “one of my favorite ads I’ve ever made.”
Kudos for using a Milka-filled Advent calendar, counting down the final weeks before the yuletide arrives, as both a plot point and product integration.
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam
“For this campaign we wanted to bring back the childlike wonder of Christmas, that powerful feeling of anticipation when you just can’t wait for Christmas Day to come,” W+K creative director Daniel Schaefer tells Adweek. “Our creatives on this job came up with this charming idea: What if you were to wake up one morning and someone incredibly cheeky had secretly stolen all of the chocolate from your Advent calendar? You might think Christmas had already arrived. The script evolved from there.”
The story takes place in Lilaberg, the idyllic mountain community introduced by Milka this year for its global “Tenderness Inside” campaign. In theory, that’s a great setting for a feel-good holiday ad, but the team encountered challenges during a May shoot in the picturesque town of Loket, Czech Republic.
“Unfortunately, this place isn’t very wintery at that time of year, nor does it have a mountain backdrop,” says Schaefer. “So we had to create a lot of fake snow, and our friends at McMurphy in Paris did an amazing CG and matte painting job in bringing this Alpine winter wonderland to life.”
And just as the kid collects old-timey timepieces to bring his invention to life, director Jeunet used some old-school temporal science to keep filming on schedule.
“He had an old analog stopwatch in his pocket and timed every single take while shooting to make it work in exactly the same time that he figured for in the storyboard phase,” Schaefer says. “He kept telling us: ‘Guys, one idea per shot. You can only tell one single thing in each shot.’ “
During the holidays, folks typically reflect on their childhood and often strive to recapture a youthful sense of awe and expectation. This film taps into such sentiment, which should heighten its appeal for viewers of all ages.
Plus, that funky-clunky retro time machine is dope!
“We put a lot of research and development into it,” Schaefer says. “A standard sledge [sleigh] was built as the base to the machine and was combined with ‘high-tech’ components like a rusty trumpet, old chunks of Scalextric [slot-car racing sets] and one of those cheesy laser glass balls from the ’90s. It worked like a charm.”