Santa Is the Ultimate Outsider in Coke's Holiday Plea for Acceptance

A timely take on a timeless character

"A strange man from a mysterious land who's looking to sneak into our home." 

There have been comedy bits forever about Santa Claus, and how he is the ultimate criminal—a guy who engages annually in breaking and entering, trespassing, smuggling and invasion of privacy. 

Now, none other than Coca-Cola—the brand credited with essentially crafting the modern-day image of St. Nicholas, through ads from D'Arcy beginning in the 1930s—is offering its own take on the strangeness of Santa. Shouldn't we be afraid of the man, especially these days, when fear of foreigners is resurgent? 

The global Coke spot below, from agency Santo, answers that question with a plea for tolerance and togetherness. It's a surprisingly political take, but done in a way that's irresistibly festive at the same time. 

Coca-Cola | Accepting Santa

The spot was directed by Pucho Mentasti and produced by Blue Films. It succeeds largely due to the wonderfully cinematic VFX work by Motion Picture Company. 

"We became involved very early on in the process, using our skills in creature work to guide the process and drive the creative," says MPC creative sirector Alvin Cruz. "We offered our input to help shape the CG reindeers—how they would move, how they would behave, and most importantly, how they would fly." 

MPC's 2-D team also did extensive matte painting work, creating ice on the lakes, snow on the trees, and festive lights in the windows of the houses. 

"There were a few key scenes that required a lot of environment work, including the first establishing shot of the cabin and snowy mountains in the background," says MPC 2-D lead Renato Carone. "The entire sky scene was digital matte painting, including simulated cloud interactions as the sleigh traveled through them."

The spot is running globally online, and on TV in markets including Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, the U.K., France, Spain, Portugal and Japan. 

Santo has done plenty of great work for Coca-Cola before, of course, including the universally adored "Parents" spot from 2013.


Client: Coca-Cola
Agency: Santo
Title: Christmas 2019
CEO: Maxi Anselmo
Director Of Creative Strategy: Sebastian Wilhelm
CCO: Maxi Itzkoff
ECD: Ariel Chiesa / Darío Porterie
General Account Director: Florencia Spinetta
Account Director: Sabrina Santos
Production Director: Leandro Sussman
Production Assistant: Juan Ignacio Contino

Production Company: Blue
Director: Pucho Mentasti
Executive Producer: Gonzalo Fontana
Line Producer: Rosario Rodriguez Cappa
DOP: Nicolas Puenzo
Edit: Vanesa Ferrario
Post Production Imagen: MPC / Bitt

Animation / Postmedia
Executive Producer: Camila De Biaggi
SFX/ Post Supervisor: Alvin Cruz / Marcos Ferrari / Gaston Musarra
Executive Producer: Chris Connolly / Mariana Motta / Martin Musarra
Sound Design: Bamba
Excecutive Producer: Manana Fraga - Tomás Becu
Director of Short Videos: Dante Anselmo.
Client: Rafael Prandini, Alejandro Ferrer, Carlos Peñaherrera, Daniela Cordova, Alejandro Melcón Ordóñez, Cristina Ordóñez, Luis Pedro Estrada , Ana Isabel Carrión, Erica Tomás

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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