"The Gift" and the Elf by BETC

"Christmas is for enjoying even more". Thanks to Marie-Eve Schoettl and David Soussan, creative directors at BETC, we can enjoy the second Manor's communication for the holiday season.


Marie-Eve Schoettl
Creative Director BETC

David Soussan
Creative Director BETC

Give us an overview of the campaign, what is it about and what was your role in the creation?

The gift is the new piece of entertainment we developed for Manor’s 2018 holiday communication. It is a 2’30” animated spin-off of last year’s film, The drawing. Hence it is set in the same magical universe, with the same characters. But this time the hero is a little elf desperately trying to avoid becoming the Christmas present of an overly curious kid! Marie-Eve and I, as Creative Directors, along with our CCO Rémi Babinet, were the guardians of this humorous and surprising universe (yes we were), with the envy to go further in the entertainment.


Was the brief for this holiday campaign any different that than the usual? What challenges did that present?

We had in mind to create an even more wonderful and crafted film than last year, in order to settle Manor as one of the main providers of yearly Christmas films. It was a hard task that we once more entrusted director Kevin Grady (from the Passion Films collective Againstallodds) with. But first things first, the story was the biggest stake here, as people were left last year with a nerve-wrecking climax! This is why we were so immediately fond of the script created by our great senior creative team Nathalie Dupont and Francis de Ligt.


What inspired you to approach the campaign this way? 

As keeping the universe was mandatory (it was so successful in Switzerland last year), we first had to find a way to re-create some surprise. The change of point of view – from Santa’s to the little elf’s – was the good idea. It allowed us to imagine the story from a very naïve and over the top mind. Then, we had to find a strong role to Manor in that magical Christmas business. And then it came: in every Manor store is a secret storage place where the elves directly deliver all their toys, in a very organized flying ballet.


What’s a “behind the scenes” story that only you know about? 

Oh, there is always a lot of funny faces and weird walks exchanged between us and Kevin, all self-pride left aside.


Are there any holiday ad tropes that you think should be retired by now? 

Yes, that idea that the Christmas ads are so serious a business that they HAVE to make you cry by any means. Even almost out of sadness. This is crazy. Christmas is for enjoying even more.


What is your favorite holiday campaign of all time? 

Certainly the Harvey Nichols ‘I spent it on myself’ campaign. Brilliant idea, beautifully crafted, hilariously directed, and so perfectly deployed. And it worked commercially, which is the purpose of this game.


What can we expect from your agency in 2019?

We also released a very sweet Christmas piece for Bouygues Telecom this year. So I guess that we are starting to seriously love that holiday campaign rendez-vous. It used to be a well-kept exercise mastered by American and English agencies, but who knows? It might become our new thing.


What do you think the advertising industry’s New Year’s resolution should be?

Maybe to keep in mind the freedom, imagination and freshness of the holiday ads when we create campaigns during the rest of the year. After all, advertising can never be too inspiring.