December is a time for making memories, family traditions, resolutions and being with loved ones. Toyota’s year-end sales event, Toyotathon, brings the holiday sentiment to life while reinforcing the importance of celebrating together with a heartfelt story. It's a Christmas story about a father and son, who cross the distance that has kept them apart thanks to a letter…and a determined little boy.
Give us an overview of the campaign, what is it about and what was your role in the creation?
The real credit goes to my team, who are consistently successful in creating this kind of emotional communication. My responsibility is to curate the ideas they bring to the table and guide them in making them come alive. In this particular case, I was closely involved with the team from the beginning.
Was the brief for this holiday campaign any different that than the usual? What challenges did that present?
The brief was similar to previous years: the Holidays are better when we celebrate them together. The challenge was to create something simple that resonates within that context. To me, simplicity is essential when conveying an emotional message. This year we tried to play with human nature, something small but insightful. Once we devised the premise, the challenge was to choose the right director and casting. There is a subtle line between being believable and being cliché. I am happy with our result.
What inspired you to approach the campaign this way?
The Holiday mindset. People are understandably more emotional this time of the year. It’s always a time of reflection, which is why we have new year resolutions. Again, the main objective is to create an emotional bond with the brand.
In the case of letter, it was a change of heart inspired by a little boy’s innocent wish.
What’s a “behind the scenes” story that only you know about?
Well, it is really more of an unfortunate story. One of the houses we used in this spot was destroyed a week after the shoot by the California wild fires. The fires also affected other areas where we shot running footage of the vehicle. Very sad.
Are there any holiday ad tropes that you think should be retired by now?
Nah, everybody waits for the holidays to see what certain brands will do. It’s fun, so let’s keep it going!
What is your favorite holiday campaign of all time?
Wow, all-time is a tough one. More recently, I do very much like what John Lewis did with Elton John.
What can we expect from your agency in 2019?
Great creative solutions and new businesses coming aboard!
What do you think the advertising industry's New Year’s resolution should be?
Adaptability with optimism.