MAX BENNETT, ACCOUNT DIRECTOR AT HOST/HAVAS, SAYS SANTA CLAUS’ LATEST AUSTRALIAN HERO REMINDS US OF THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS AFTER A DIFFICULT YEAR.
The holiday campaign is the second chapter in the agency’s Christmas tale for Stockland, which last year centred around Dunder, Santa’s Aussie pal who pulled the holiday back from the brink of disaster.
Here, Max chats about the “bird of the bins” who guides Santa’s sleigh Down Under this Christmas and why the cheerful narrative connects so well with the brand’s audience.
Dunder is back again to save another Christmas! Why has she worked so well for Stockland?
I think the key to the success for Stockland, and its reception from customers, has been having a character be a true representation of the brand and its values – welcoming, honest, hardworking and most importantly full of Aussie underdog spirit.
The ability for Dunder to work not only in paid comms but as merchandise such as books, promos, in store POS and shopper signage across the country helped establish the character as more than just a nice film idea, into something more tangible customers could connect with at various points through the Christmas period.
Finally, I think the animated world of Dunder really helped capture the wonder of Christmas for Stockland and gave permission for us to evolve the idea further and push the boundaries on this world for this year’s creative.
Tell us a little about this year’s narrative and why the creative message connects with Stockland’s customers?
For the rest of the world, the humble Ibis is just another bird. But for people across Australia, the Ibis is a national icon, albeit one that’s normally seen routing through the bins for some food. An odd choice for a lead character, but for us it presented the perfect unexpected hero to show customers that, no matter who you are, with the right help everyone can find a little magic this holiday season.
The campaign follows the wholesome tale of a humble Ibis determined to find his Christmas magic – to be a reindeer like Dunder and lead Santa’s sleigh. Through the Ibis, viewers see that even though you may have been dealt a challenging hand, it’s possible to turn things around with the right amount of determination, resilience and belief in the magic of Christmas.
What has been the reaction to the campaign?
First and foremost, our Stockland clients were extremely happy with the final creative and praised the team for their work on the brief. In a challenging year, they appreciated our versatility and craft to deliver work to support a heavily hit sector during COVID.
From an industry perspective, the campaign has been receiving great traction and reviews and has appeared in AdForum’s Top 5 Ads of the Week.
Finally, from a customer point of view, while the campaign has only been live for a few weeks, we already have 1.2m views on Youtube and the comments section makes for positive reading. For Stockland Play, the AR application, downloads continue to be strong and are expected to increase as we get closer to Christmas and more games are unlocked.
I think this is in part because the Ibis is so widely recognised, and really hasn’t been used at all in creative campaigns in the market, so people are reacting to finally seeing the bird of the bins being championed!
Are Christmas campaigns a little daunting? Is it a challenge to stand out among the sameness?
It’s the brief I look forward to hitting my desk every year and ones the creatives are dying to work on – it’s always a challenge to create something unique, especially in the year we’ve had, but that’s really why we are all in advertising and part of the fun of the process.
Most importantly, it felt like in a year when it mattered the most, we’ve found a point of view and position for Stockland that genuinely reflected the brand with their customers, beyond trying to just make a ‘cool’ ad.
On top of this, whilst we get some advantage by not having to use the traditional ‘Christmas’ wintery images, it also means we always need to work harder for local cut through, we can’t just stick Santa on a surfboard!
Throughout the campaign, we’ve been able to sprinkle little elements of Australiana, like the colourful Scribbly Gum Tree, to the depth of colour palette across the country in our animated world, to give the creative a feeling of being made for here, rather than just your typical Christmas world.