As the days cede more territory to night, Posten, the Norwegian postal service, gives us something to warm our heart cockles: "When Harry met Santa," created by POL in Oslo.
The ad follows a single Norwegian man over many holidays. In the first, he stumbles upon Santa setting gifts down in his living room. They share a long fugitive look before Santa slips back up the chimney, leaving naught but dust behind.
That's the one thing we tell kids they can't do—see Santa. But the Claus has taken an interest to this guy. In Christmases that follow, for just one night every year, they forge a tentative, then more forthright relationship. Harry begins to feel longing, to suffer.
Love by furlough. What's more romantic, or more maddening?
This coming June 17 will mark 50 years since Norwegians abolished a law prohibiting same-sex relations. It's touching, in the context of such a lonely time for so many, to watch love take our Nordic Harry. He glows, grows childlike with Christmas anticipation. He checks himself out, writes an anxious love letter. When his heart falls at the sight of the delivery woman (sorry, Posten—but perfect cameo!), imagining that Santa's rejected him, ours does too.
And because "When Harry Met Santa" passes through multiple years of Christmas, it captures the dreamlike, liminal quality of this period. Every moment seems like the same late hour of evening, moments of solitude bleeding into gatherings, sleeping and waking, and gift after gift after gift.
POL's also done something lovely with Santa. "Harry" feels fleshed out, but so does his mythic soulmate, who manages to balance looking patronly and warm—the way we most like to imagine St. Nick—while seeming mature, discerning and capable of sensuality. The kiss between them feels earned.
If only How I Met Your Mother had ended in as satisfying a way as this three-minute work.
"We have created a new tradition at Posten, looking into Christmas institutions and folklore from different perspectives, with a grand Christmas ad every year," says Posten's marketing director, Monica Solberg. "And what better way to follow up last year's angry Santa with pure love this year?"
Posten's Santa of 2020 was a totally different guy with completely different problems. He was, however, no less charming. We like the idea of the Norwegian postal service building an anthology of Santas, each somehow refracting a different facet of our worlds. (This is probably not at all what they're gunning for, but still. We like the idea.)
Client: Posten (The Norwegian Postal Service)
Client Contact: Monica Solberg (Marketing Director)
Agency: POL (Oslo, Norway)
POL (Creative Agency)
Rikke Sofie Jacobsen – Copywriter
Pia Emilie Lystad – Art Director
Marius Eriksen – Account Director
Kristin E.B. Scheele – Account Manager
Ole Jacob Bøe Skattum – Design / Motion
B-Reel Films (Film Production)
Director - Sacarias Kiusalaas
Producer - Anisa Dzindo
DOP - Tim Lorentzén
Executive Producer - Rikard Åström
Editor - Nils Andersson
Sound - Calle Budde Roos / PONYTAIL
Grade - Oskar Larsson / TINT
VFX - HAYMAKERFX
Online - Evelina Åström / TINT
Music - Stockholm Music Gymnasium Youth Choir 22