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Steve Carell Stars as Stress-Eating Santa Claus in Xfinity's Irresistible New Holiday Film

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Debuted during NBC’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the campaign from Goodby Silverstein & Partners celebrates virtual connections

Steve Carell Stars as Stress-Eating Santa Claus in Xfinity's Irresistible New Holiday Film
This year, working from home has become the new norm, and the ability to stay connected virtually has allowed people to pull off new and inventive ways of achieving what was previously unimaginable. That is the ingenuity taking centre stage in Xfinity’s 2020 holiday campaign created by advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P).

“This year the internet has kept us more connected than ever, allowing us to do more than we thought possible, in the face of less-than-ideal circumstances,” said Todd Arata, senior vice president of brand marketing at Comcast. “Xfinity is a connections brand and this campaign is all about how our connections to one another can create real magic, particularly at this time of year. It’s part of a rich tradition of heartwarming holiday storytelling that includes our great E.T. campaign last year.”

Titled 'The Greatest Gift', in the four-minute film, for which a two-minute version aired during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, features Santa Claus, played by Steve Carell, who shocks the North Pole with a last-minute charge to his merry elves. Given the rough year 2020 has been, the usual toys and gifts just aren’t going to cut it. With just days left ’til the holiday, the elves will have to come up with something bigger and better. After an initial panic, they realise that there’s one thing everyone truly needs in this most unusual year: a little more togetherness. Magically, they begin packaging up all the little moments that make the season bright - from the smell of grandma’s cooking to family snowball fights - reminding Santa, and us all, of the true meaning of the holidays, particularly this year.

“People have always turned to classic holiday stories for escape and inspiration during difficult times,” said GS&P executive creative director, Jim Elliott. “In fact, some of the most cherished holiday films and songs were born directly from them. Given the year we’ve just had, we decided to go back to the basics of holiday storytelling and revisit a classic narrative through a present-day lens.”

“Getting the chance to tell a story about how Santa and the elves work together to pull off the impossible in a year when we’ve all had to wrestle with what work now looks like has been a special experience,” said GS&P co-chairman, Jeff Goodby. “And the chance to shape it with an actor as beloved as Steve Carell gives the film an extra feeling of warmth.”

Academy Award nominee, and Golden Globe, SAG and WGA winner, Steve Carell, plays Santa Claus who tries to maintain a veneer of calm in between bouts of insomnia and stress-eating binges with his reindeer.

“The holidays are really about moments of togetherness with the people you love, and serve as a reminder for what’s most important, especially given the hardships of this past year. I hope that this sweet little story will bring a bit of cheer,” said Steve.

The three and a half minute film was created in partnership with production company MJZ and director Craig Gillespie ('I, Tonya' and Disney’s upcoming 'Cruella'.)

“It’s rare to have such a special project come along,” said director Craig Gillespie. “Being able to collaborate with the agency and craft a message borne of this particular moment that captures a longing for togetherness was very gratifying. And having the opportunity to work with Steve Carell was a dream come true. He brought the heart, warmth and humour that is the magic of this spot.”

Beyond the film, Xfinity is bringing moments of togetherness to life with a Pinterest activation called 'The Greatest Gift Shoppe' - a virtual one-stop - shop designed to help keep families connected through the holidays. With activities such as custom blanket-fort designs, recommendations on the best holiday movies, and tips on how to make the most of yuletide virtual get-togethers, 'The Greatest Gift Shoppe' helps everyone celebrate what matters most in joyous ways.

“For this campaign, social is a vehicle to gift togetherness,” said Nader Ali-Hassan, executive director of social marketing at Comcast. “Pinterest is a place so many people look to for inspiration. It was a natural home for us to share ideas for activities that could help draw families closer this holiday season.”

'The Greatest Gift' follows the success of last year’s Xfinity holiday campaign, 'A Holiday Reunion', which reunited E.T. and Elliott after 37 years.

Beyond the film and Pinterest activation, Xfinity is bringing moments of togetherness to life with its products and services and also via its social channels starting Thanksgiving Day.

Xfinity X1 and Flex customers can say 'Holiday Movies' or 'Holiday Music' into the Voice Remote to watch and listen to their favourites of the season
X1, and Flex customers can also say 'The greatest gift', 'Togetherness', 'Elf Shopping Network' and 'Awesome gift ideas' into the Voice Remote to watch Xfinity’s holiday short film and for audio easter eggs from Santa’s helpers, or 'Steve Carell' to browse and enjoy the actor’s work.

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Client: Comcast

Brand: Xfinity

Campaign Name: The Greatest Gift

Client Chief Marketing Offer: Sophia Ahmad

SVP, Brand Marketing, Messaging and Media: Peter Intermaggio

SVP, Brand Marketing IMC: Todd Arata

Vice President, Brand IMC: Dustin Hayes

Senior Director, Brand IMC: Rose Holden

Manager, Brand IMC: Gabby Maunder

Social Executive Director, Social Marketing: Nader Ali-Hassan

Director, Social Marketing: Jennifer Marder

Community Manager, Xfinity Brand: Lacey Ketchell


Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners

Agency Creative Co-Chairmen: Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein

Chief Creative Officer: Margaret Johnson

Executive Creative Director: Jim Elliott

Creative Directors: Jon Wolanske, Jon Wyville

Associate Creative Director: Justin Ralph

Art Directors: Hans Schenck, Stevan Chavez

Copywriter: Mike Gallucci

Social Creative Director: Bob Cohen

Associate Creative Director: Ross Fischer

Copywriter: Shareina Chandler

Art Director: Katy Wells


Design Director: Ryan Self

Designers: Benny Gold, Pedro Zuccolini

Account Services

Managing Partner: Leslie Barrett

Executive Group Account Director: Chad Bettor

Account Director: Kirsten Tsitsos

Account Manager: Lauren Berry

Assistant Account Manager: Caroline Lee

Social Account Director: Tom Powers

Account Manager: Katie Freedman

Assistant Account Manager: Rachel Diaz

Brand and Communication

Strategy Partner, Head of Brand Strategy: Bonnie Wan

Partner, Head of Communication Strategy: Christine Chen

Group Strategy Director: Kelly Evans-Pfeifer, Katie Coane

Communication Strategy Director: Maren Severtson

Group Director Research Data & Analytics Strategist: Cassi Husain

Senior Communication Strategist: Jacob Sperla

Communication Strategist: Rosie Kerstetter

Brand Strategist: Madison Cameron

Junior Communication Strategist: Tooba Wasi

Production Executive Producer: James Horner

Agency Producer: Kateri McLucas

Social Executive Producer: Gemma Edward

Business Affairs Director of Business Affairs: Judy Ybarra

Production Business Manager: Yelena Kompaneyets


Production Company: MJZ

Production Company City: Los Angeles

Director/DP: Craig Gillespie

President/Executive Producer: David Zander

Executive Producer: Emma Wilcockson

Producer: Martha Davis

Director of Photography: Adam Arkapaw

Production Designer: Jamie Vickers


Editorial Company: Rock Paper Scissors

Editing Company City: Los Angeles

Editor: Haines Hall

Assistant Editor: Kevin Goolsby

Head of Production: Dre Krichevsky

Executive Producer: Shada Shariatzadeh

Post Producer: Kevin Gottlieb

Audio and Sound Design

Audio and Sound: Lime Studios

Sound Design Company City: LSD, Santa Monica

Sound Designer: Michael Anastasi

Sound Design Assistant: Kai Paquin

AudioMixer: Adam Primack

Audio Assistant: Ian Connie

Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan


VFX Studio: a52

VFX Supervisor: Patrick Murphy

CG Supervisor: Andrew Romatz

2D VFX Artists: Andy McKenna, Urs Furrer, Stefan Gaillot, Matt Sousa, Richard Hirst, Adam Flynn, Michael Vaglienty, Kevin Stokes, Chris Riley

Lead CG Lighter: Ariana Ziae Mohseni

3D Artists: Dustin Mellum, Aemilia Widodo, Josh Dyer, Jun Kim, Weiyo Sha, Miguel Salek, Derek Friesenborg, Mike DiNocco, Jaemin Lee, Quinton Woodson, Joe Paniagua, Jose Limon, Bryan Cox, Jade Smrz, Joe Chiechi, Michael Bettinardi, Joey BettinardiMatte Painters

Online Editors: Chris Riley, John Valle

Producers: Everett Cross, Andrew Rosenberger

Executive Producers: Patrick Nugent, Kim Christensen

Head of Production: Stacy Kessler Aungst

Head of CG Production: Michael Steinmann

Managing Director: Jennifer Sofio Hall

Design Studio

Design Studio: Elastic

Art Director: Nadia Tzuo

Animator(s): Trix Taylor, Lucy Kim, Chad Danieley

Coordinator: Mitchell Fraser

Deputy Head of Production: Zach Wakefield

Executive Producer: Luke Colson

Head of Production: Kate Berry

Managing Director: Jennifer Sofio Hall

Colour Company: a52

Colour Colourist: Daniel de Vue

Colour Assistants: Dylan Bursick, Corey Martinez

Colour Producer: Jenny Bright

Executive Producer: Thatcher Peterson


Music Company: Songs for Film & T.V.

Music Supervisor: David Fisher

“Dreamer” performed by: Roger Hodgson and written by Roger Hodgson, Richard Davies

Composer: Eric Kinny

Composer: Bruce Driscoll

Categories: Utilities, Cable / Satellite TV

Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Wed, 02 Dec 2020 18:00:56 GMT