HP and Michel Gondry Imagine 'The 12 Days of Christmas' With No Screen Time

Glad tidings from Goodby Silverstein

"12 teens-a-texting. 11 lads-a-liking. 10 sisters scrolling. Nine swipers swiping…"

HP rewrites the "The 12 Days of Christmas" in a visually engaging short film created with Goodby Silverstein & Partners, production house Partizan and director Michel Gondry. 

The lyrics and fanciful imagery initially focus on how rampant technology has co-opted the holiday season. Ultimately, however, the singers change their tune, celebrating the fun that kids and grownups can have with paper dreidels and airplanes, origami and other stuff produced with help from HP's printers.

Print The Holidays | Get Real | HP

Gondry, the innovative French filmmaker (The Green Hornet, Mood Indigo) who won an Academy Award as a writer on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, conjures up an appealing storybook vibe. The spot plays like a yuletide dream, with bold colors, festive action and slightly surreal bits—are those scrolling sisters toys in a doll house?—achieved in-camera, without complex special effects. 

In this making-of clip, Gondry discusses his approach and reveals that he keeps a pile of paper handy at all times, just in case inspiration strikes:

12 Days of Real Time: Behind-the-Scenes | Get Real | HP

HP's holiday push reinforces the themes of device disconnection and heightened human interaction recently introduced in the company's "Get Real" campaign. For that effort, HP was rewarded with coal in its stocking, as some lambasted the tech giant for being out of touch. ("OK, boomer" taunts flew around social. That's cold.) 

"We launched 'Get Real' last month, centered around a thought-provoking question: Have we lost touch with what's real?" HP global head of print marketing Deepak Masand tells Muse. "To answer the question, we wanted to provide a tangible way for consumers to get real with their family and friends this holiday season. The idea to rework one of the most iconic holiday carols enabled us to showcase how the world around us is changing—it's no longer 'pipers piping,' it's 'swipers swiping.' Yet, togetherness is still paramount, especially during the holidays." 

To encourage families to power down, the company partnered with artists and influencers to develop "over 250 hours" of screen-free activities dubbed "Print the Holidays." These include printable comic books, coloring pages, Star Wars and Frozen content from Disney and recipes from AllRecipes.com. Gondry contributed a paper-airplane design. 

The notion of unplugging and spending some quality time with loved ones IRL seems especially appropriate around the holidays, so perhaps this outing will fare better with the masses than HP's earlier "Get Real" iterations. 

The company's not saying we should smash our iPhones and cower in caves (as attractive as that may sound some days). Rather, it's suggesting we take a few tech time-outs, which really doesn't sound all that radical. Lots of marketers have explored the notion of stepping away in recent years without generating any controversy. WeTransfer's "Please Leave" campaign from a few months back pops to mind. 

Regardless, the debate has put HP at the center of the cultural converation, and that's no mean feat for an company that makes printers—OK, babies? 

"By providing helpful tools and inspiration to bring more balance this holiday season," Masand says, "we hope to leave viewers feeling hopeful and motivated to put the screens down this holiday season."

CREDITS

Ad Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Client: HP 
Title of Creative Work: Print the Holidays
Live Date: 11/11/19

Client
Chief Marketing Officer of HP: Vikrant Batra
Global Head of Marketing , Print: Deepak Masand
Head of Global Marketing, Print Hardware Systems: Ladd Martin
Manager, Global Consumer Print Marketing Team: Laura Morris
Global Marketing for Consumer Print: Amy Rowan
Global Print Program Manager: Amy Witkop

Creative
Co-Chairman and Co-Founder: Rich Silverstein
Creative Director: Will Elliot
Associate Creative Director: Daniel Righi
Associate Creative Director: Kurt Mills
Copywriter: Sydney Lindsey
Art Director: Jelena Kolomejac
Design Director: Ryan Self
Designers: Pedro Zuccolini, Nero Chen

Production 
Director of Broadcast Production: Leila Gage
Executive Producer: Stephanie DeNatale
Broadcast Producer: Rachel Saxon

Account Services
Managing Partner: Leslie Barrett
Account Director: Melissa Buck
Account Manager: Jackie Russell
Assistant Account Manager: Vivian Cheng

Brand and Communication Strategy
Head of Brand Strategy: Bonnie Wan
Group Communication Strategy Director: Dong Kim
Senior Communications Strategist: Matt Hudgins
Group Strategy Director: Kelly Evans-Pfeifer
Senior Brand Strategist: Marisa Perazzelli
Brand Strategist: Briana Patrick

Business Affairs
Director of Business Affairs: Judy Ybarra
Business Affairs Associate: Kristian Evanculla
Associate Traffic Manager / Business Affairs Associate: Howie Mapson
Associate Business Affairs Manager: Stuart Pidrak

Production Company: Partizan
Director: Michel Gondry
Producer: Raffi Adlan
Managing Director/Executive Producer: Lisa Tauscher
Head of Production: Kelly Martin
Director of Photography: Shawn Kim
Production Designer: Maxwell Orgell
Stylist: Florence Fontaine
Service Company: Division Productions 

Editorial Company: Exile
Editor: Kirk Baxter
Assistant Editor: Rex Lowry
Executive Producer: CL Weaver
Post Producer: Michael Miller

Color/Graphics/VFX/Finishing: The Mill LA
Creative Director/VFX Sup: Glyn Tebbutt
CG Lead: Jason Mortimer
Compositors: Lenz Kol, Daniel Thuresson, Nicholas Tayler, Roman Yavorsky, Dylan Strieff, Scott Johnson
CG Artists: Matthew Choy
CG FX Artist: Jason Mortimer
Animation Supervisor: Jacob Bergman
Matte Painter: Andy Wheater
Graphic Design/Art Directors: Sasha Vinogradova, Maxim Goudin
Senior Colorist: Adam Scott
Color Production: Blake Rice, Jessica Amburgey
Senior VFX Producer: Erin Hicke
Executive Producer: Dan Roberts
Production Coordinator: Jena Bodell

Music, Sound Design + Mix: Squeak E. Clean Studios
Executive Creative Director: Sam Spiegel
Arranger + Composer: Lydia Davies
Arranger + Composer: Lucas Cantor
Executive Creative Producer Sydney: Karla Henwood
Executive Producer Los Angeles: Christina Carlo
Sound Designer + Mixer: Drew Fischer
Choir Director: Lena Gabrielle
Licensing Manager: Chelsea Ramsden
Producer: Blade Thornton
Production Coordinator: Colby Smalzel

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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