Elton's John's "Your Song" is the track of choice for Christmas ads this year: in the U.K. it was sung by the star himself in the John Lewis commercial, while in Germany, discount supermarket Penny uses a cover version of the the track, by by Josephine van Schaik, in a very different holiday ad.
Created by Serviceplan, it's an animated tale with a somewhat sombre theme. The story revolves around an exhausted-looking single mother who struggles to give her son all the treats he wants during the holiday season. For a dress-up party, she lovingly creates a handmade bear costume, but the neighborhood children laugh at it, and when he wants to go ice-skating, she can't afford the skate rental. However, inspired by his love of all things Arctic, she dreams up a solution for Christmas itself: creating a winter wonderland in their outdoor shed. The final tagline is: "Christmas doesn't need much. Only love."
The spot features beautifully crafted animation by Amsterdam's Glassworks with a deliberately handmade aesthetic to match it theme of creativity and handiwork. Alongside the ad, Penny created a campaign encouraging people to knit their own teddy bears, with customers potentially able to win one of the 2500 kits in an online lottery. Meanwhile, on the campaign website penny.de/nurliebe kids could "chat" to the polar bear that features in the film, and tell him their deepest wishes -- some of which the brand will help come true.
According to the agency, the ad reflects that times are economically tough for some Germans, despite the country's relative affuence. Serviceplan executive creative director Christoph Everke says: "The film and its soundtrack express exactly what people in Germany are experiencing every day. They are getting by with limited resources and their successes are often down to the fact that they are stronger than people who have never had to struggle. The film is an homage to these tough people who do their utmost every day to care for their family."
The ad has been running through December in Germany, where it's had over 14 million views on YouTube, but can only now be shown outside the country due to the rights for "Your Song".