Microsoft Plays Reindeer Games in Its Charming 2019 Holiday Ad

m:united//McCann pushes Voice Translator

Technology's seemingly magical ability to deepen our understanding and strengthen connections comes to the fore in this holiday ad from Microsoft, m:united//McCann and Hungry Man director Hank Perlman. 

A girl named Lucy watches her mom use the cloud-based Microsoft Translator during a video-conference call to communicate with some business colleagues in Japan. Later, Lucy spies a couple of reindeer in her snowy backyard, grabs Mom's tablet, and heads outside to quiz the beasts on pressing matters of the season.

Microsoft Holiday Ad 2019 – Holiday Magic: Lucy & the Reindeer

Her questions—"How do you guys fly?" "What does Santa do in the summer?" "Is Mrs. Claus a good cook?"—seem like the kind of things kids would ask. And chatting with animals is a charming notion, well suited to this time of year.

"In the hands of many other brands, that would be a pretty ridiculous premise," says McCann New York and m:united//McCann evp and creative director Shayne Millington. "In the hands of Microsoft, it's almost feasible."

The minute-long spot breaks on TV during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

"We wanted to create a nice, warm, cozy feeling that captures this wondrous time of year," says Millington, "to lean into the tropes of the holiday ads we see so often, with a twist. Plus, we wanted to reinforce the power of connecting and empowering people, which are core philosophies of the Microsoft brand, sprinkled with a bit of magic and human truth."

Those were genuine, live Rangifer tarandus on set, by the way.

"One of the reindeer, 'Larry,' looked squarely at Lucy after she delivered her line, thought about it for a moment, then turned around and laid down in the snow with his back to her," Millington recalls. "I think it was his way of saying: 'Nailed it!'"


Client: Microsoft

Kathleen Hall – Corporate Vice President of Brand, Advertising and Research
Deana Singleton – GM, Global Advertising
Stacey Terrien – Director, Global Advertising
Jenny Leahy – Director, Social and Media Partnerships
Ron Schott – Senior Manager, Global Advertising
Hannah Westing – Manager, Global Advertising
Danielle Radcliffe – Manager Social Media
Dawn Novak – Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Global Advertising

Agency: m:united//McCann New York

Sean Bryan – Co-Chief Creative Officer
Tom Murphy – Co-Chief Creative Officer
Shayne Millington – EVP, Executive Creative Director
Michael Aimette – Executive Creative Director
Rick Ardito – Creative Director
Emmie Nostitz – Creative Director
Edu Lunardi – Senior Art Director
Hunter Pinnell – Copywriter
Nick Larson – Senior Copywriter
David Cliff – Director Creative Technology
Alicia Foor – Creative Technologist
Hiya Vazirani – Creative Technologist

Business Leadership
Kevin Nelson – Global Business Lead
Tina Galley – EVP, Executive Account Director
Rosemary Calderone – SVP, Executive Account Director
Jeremy Miller, EVP, Global Chief Communications Officer, McCann Worldgroup
Ellie Choi – Account Director
Emily Swastek – Account Supervisor

Carolyn Johnson – SVP, Head of Integrated Production
Mel Senecal – VP, Senior Producer
Nina Roussarie – Senior Producer

Project Management
Stella Warkman – SVP, Director of Project Management
Lauren Kosche – Senior Project Manager

Business Affairs
Eric David Johnson – SVP, Executive Music Producer
Jamie Jou – Music Business Manager
Dan Gross – Music Producer
David Halberstadt – Business Manager

Joanna Schwab – EVP, Global Strategy Director
Jordan Berger – Social Strategy Director

Production: Hungry Man
Hank Perlman– Director
Kevin Byrne - Managing Partner/Executive Producer
Martha E. Davis – Producer

Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors, NY
Damion Clayton – Editor
Sebastian Zotoff – Assistant Editor
Eve Kornblum – Managing Director
Jenny Greenfield – Producer

Matthew Loranger – Executive Producer
Chris Connolly – VFX Producer
VFX Supervisor/Flame Lead: Tim Crean
2D Team: Julien Aucouturier, Lawrence Merrill
VFX Team: Jaswan Prasath, Sathish Chellappan, Shyam Babu, Yasasvini Vagampalli, Muruga T, Vishal Dark, Geetesh Tari

Color House: MPC
Ricky Gausis – Senior Colorist
James Tillett – Senior Colorist
Sasha Pace – Producer

Music: JSM Music
Joel Simon – CCO/COE/Co-Composer
Jeff Fiorello – Executive Producer
Becca Riter – Co-Composer

Audio Post: Sonic Union
Mix Engineer: Michael Marinelli
Mix Engineer: Owen Shearer
Senior Producer: Patrick Sullivan

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