Vodafone Celebrates the Holidays With Surveillance

Even St. Nick isn't safe

Phones are such a big part of our lives, and there are countless ways for mobile providers to wiggle into the Christmas ad gauntlet. In France, Bouygues and BETC Paris have proven pretty good at finding emotionally resonant avenues.

Here, Vodafone U.K. and Ogilvy choose a different adventure: video surveillance.

Big Brother anxieties aside, what kid doesn't want to catch Santa in the act? Such a scenario unfolds in "Feel the Connection."

This is perhaps neither surprising nor all that sinister, given that it hails from the country of CCTV. Directed by Vince Squibb, the action revolves around Lily, who sets up a poorly-hidden nanny cam. The rig is nestled right in front of an elf, a wink to the contagious paranoia that Elf on the Shelf inspires in the U.S.

The trap otherwise involves the usual milk and treats, as well as a whole carrot. (For the reindeer?) On Christmas morning, finding her bait taken, Lily dashes upstairs to check her parents' phone. Santa waves at the camera without showing his face. Behind Lily, the parents look comedically distressed: Oh, har har, they're not in on the joke. An actual magical stranger entered their home last night. Belly laughs all around! 

Weird anxiety overtones aside, the ad follows research which found that a lot of people are trimming back holiday spending owing to economic difficulties. Almost half want Christmas campaigns that remind them of better times.

“In today’s cultural climate we have listened to the customer and understood their desire to have something optimistic and light hearted during this festive season," says Maria Koutsoudakis, Vodafone U.K.'s head of brand. "As a brand we know the important role our connectivity plays in family life, and wanted to celebrate this through the eyes of a tech savvy little girl who gives a whole new twist to the elf on the shelf. Our little elf gives us a creative vehicle to symbolize connectivity, and allows us to stretch the idea and the positive feel-good factor, across all our touch points.” 

The ad went live during Channel 4's Stand Up to Cancer programming.


ECD: Sam Cartmell
Creative Team: Holly Henderson & Georgia Horrocks
Producer: Jeremy Dunn
Assistant Producer: Paolo Alberto Neri 
Client Lead: Justin Cox
Client Partner: Lucy Nebel 
Account Director: Karolina Dovgialo 
Strategy Partner - Gareth Ellis 
Junior Strategist - Julia Manstead
Director:  Vince Squibb
Production Co: Academy
Editor: Paul Watts
Editors: The Quarry
Post Production: GPS
Music: “I Found You” by Sub Focus
Agency: Ogilvy U.K.

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Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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