Why the Kids in Anomaly's Holiday Video Just Want Coal for Christmas

Agency takes a new approach this year

Why would the British kids in this holiday video from Anomaly ask Father Christmas to bring them lumps of coal? Find out by watching the 90-second clip below. (Hint: Greta Thunberg would be proud.) 

Coal for Christmas: An Open Letter to Santa

See, they want to keep the coal from naughty energy companies that would burn it and harm the environment. 

"The Christmases of our future depend on it," says Anomaly London creative director Matt Roach of reversing the global climate crisis.

"Once again, children are saving the world," he says. "They've been sacrificing their education to join the climate strikes. Now, they're sacrificing getting a present—because they want a future." 

To support the cause, Anomaly will back #FridaysForFuture throughout 2020. "We will be giving our time, resources and expertise to support the group and strikes, in particular in the lead-up to COP26 [next November's United Nations Climate Change Conference] in Glasgow," says agency CEO and partner Camilla Harrisson.

It's an inventive approach to addressing a topic many viewers can all too easily tune out. We tip our woolen cap to the creative team for fusing the Christmas coal meme with an environmental message. 

The spot marks Anomaly's fourth consecutive Christmas commercial of note. Previous ads took the form of dark comedies that used South Park-style animation, blood-and-guts imagery and outrageous profanity.

Last year, actor Richard E. Grant narrated a tale of Christmas trees that decorate and torture human beings. Patrick Stewart had a devil of a time in 2018, voicing a story about a "Dear Santa" letter that winds up in Satan's claws. And in 2017, Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge narrated a fiendishly flighty take on "The 12 Days of Christmas." 

Though unsettling, those efforts can't hold a yuletide candle to the horror underpinning "Coal for Christmas: an Open Letter to Santa." Those earlier spots were make-believe. The climate crisis, and the bleak future it portends for Planet Earth, are all too real.

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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