Cannes Lions

Ho Ho Heist

VML, London / COCA-COLA / 2024

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

In 2023, the world had lost touch with the meaning of Christmas. The distractions and expectations of the season had taken over, leaving little room for the magic that once defined it. Coca-Cola, the brand that popularised the icon of Christmas. Santa Claus set out to regain synonymity with the season by reminding the world what Christmas is all about; kindness.

Coca-Cola set out to inspire their audience to reimagine how the qualities of Santa could show up in unexpected places. Beginning with the Holiday Movie Coca-Cola showed that the act of selfless giving isn’t reserved for the big man in red and white. By streaming a tale of selfless giving from an entirely unexpected source directly into the living rooms of their audiences this Holiday season, Coca-Cola showed that there is a Santa in each of us.

Idea

In 2023, Coca-Cola set out to spark a global movement inviting people to tap into the inner Santa of everyone around the world. Their mission was to show that in a world which needs more Santas, you can in fact find a Santa anywhere.

In pursuit of this, Coca-Cola expanded the traditional approach of advertising into the world of entertainment. With its long-standing relationship with Hollywood Coca-Cola took this insight and brought Santa-like kindness to life in unique places and spaces.

Strategy

There are few brands synonymous with Christmas as Coca-Cola, and even fewer held in the hands of billions while watching a Christmas special. By positioning ourselves within the world of Amazon Prime, where our audience was already seeking festive entertainment, Coca-Cola embarked on a daring quest to rekindle holiday magic through entertainment.

In our wider campaign, The World Needs More Santas, we show that we are all Santas in our own ways, everyone can be Santa. In Entertainment, we stretch the imagination by showing Santa is in all of us, no matter where our worlds may be. By showing Santa thrown in jail caught in the middle of a heist we urge our audience to break the stereotypes of where Santa comes from. Helping everyone realise that the Santa spirit of kindness resides in each of us, in the most unexpected ways.

Execution

Holiday movie roles are often loaded with cliche and over-the-top performances. Coca-Cola wanted to create a piece of work which felt every bit deserving of sitting alongside blockbuster movies, while also bringing new dimensions to characters the audience may already be familiar with, namely Santa. So, they enlisted a high calibre of performers to fulfil these goals. Starring Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, Screen Actors Guild winner Scoot McNairy as Nate, and Daytime Emmy winner Jim O’Heir as Santa himself, Coca-Cola created content befitting its big-screen inspirations, which proved to be truly thrilling for its audience. Alongside the big names, it was important for the supporting roles to also avoid cliche while providing ‘quick reads’ as the roles they represent. The Heist Santas were carefully selected to be quickly recognisable as criminals, while also making sure that they were likable, and provided a level of comedy value to the audience.

Outcome

Our advertising efforts in the US, Mexico, and Brazil have led to some impressive outcomes, with an overall 178 million unique reach globally.

We've seen a $13.7 million increase in Coca-Cola sales offline, with more people buying our products after seeing our ads. Exposure to Amazon ads resulted in a 60% increase in the time people spent watching our films compared to last year, and our sales doubled in the US.

When people saw four or more Amazon ads about our films, they were more likely to check out the product details and buy Coca-Cola. Among Gen Z, those who saw our ads had a 3% higher opinion of our brand compared to those who didn't.

In the US, our FreeVee ads gathered a lot of attention, with a click-through rate 5x higher than what's typical for cold beverages.

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