Asda has recruited a very special colleague for its Christmas ad this year, as it looks to create “festive magic” through the power of visual effects (VFX).
The ad sees Will Ferrell’s character Buddy the Elf play out iconic scenes from the 2003 film Elf, set instead in-store at Asda during a chaotic trial shift. The beginning of the ad opens with a re-enactment of the street crossing scene from the film, where Buddy collides with a New York cab, except this time it’s a train of Asda shopping trolleys.
Buddy proceeds to start his trial shift at Asda, in which he gets up to antics such as singing over the shop tannoy, distracting colleagues with his Christmas plans, and investigating the retailer’s range of festive food.
The elf redeems himself by decorating the store overnight as it closes, and is told to his delight that he can stay on as a colleague at the supermarket. In his happiness, Buddy dashes out of the store and collides with the same line of trolleys as on the way in, to the bemusement of his colleague. The ad ends with the line, ‘Have your ‘Elf a merry little Christmas’.
“We know this has been a tough year for so many people, which is why we want to create some little moments of joy for families this year with our Christmas campaign, and more importantly, our amazing products,” says Asda’s acting chief customer officer, Sam Dickson, who took on the top marketing role when Meg Farren departed earlier this year.
“We hope that with a little bit of help from Buddy, our joy-filled Christmas offering will create some festive magic and helps give families a Christmas to remember together,” he says.
This is the first time Buddy the Elf has been used in advertising by any brand. He was taken out of the original film and placed in the ad by VFX company Framestore, with Havas London as the creative agency and Spark Foundry responsible for media planning and buying.
In addition to the advert itself, the campaign will see Buddy take to in-store tannoys to make announcements. Asda will also launch an exclusive Elf-themed food and clothing range and will highlight 12 products spanning its mid-tier, general merchandising, Extra Special, and George ranges through a number of product-led TV, social and print ads.
Asda will also be collecting toys for children’s charities as part of its gift appeal, and while local choirs and bands will play in stores through December.
The grocer is introducing several initiatives to help those in need this Christmas, including Asda cafés providing a £1 meal-deal for those aged over 60 and continuing its kids eat for £1 deal.