If you've ever been relegated to the kids' table at Christmas—despite knowing in your heart of hearts you were ready for the big leagues—you'll appreciate this sweet, simple ad from Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn.
The commercial, created by TBWA\Neboko in Amsterdam, opens on a pre-teen boy arriving at a relative's house for Christmas dinner. Everywhere he turns, he's treated like a child—from the coat rack (where he tries—and fails—to get his coat hung in the tall closet), to cocktail hour, to setting the table (where, after attempting to light a candle, he's limited to blowing it out of a more "competent" adult's hand).
The 90-second cut reaches its climax when the protagonist, too old to hang with younger kids, but too young to keep company with the adults, is inevitably sent to sit with the babies, who are happily eating what appear to be hockey pucks shaped like Christmas trees.
But wait—naturally, there's more. Because Christmas and advertising are both about happy endings, he's not doomed to his his preadolescent fate after all.
Overall, the ad works nicely. Whether you've ever felt jilted at a family holiday, the boy's perspective is relatable: Nobody wants to feel left out. It also manages to be refreshingly heartfelt without feeling hackneyed.
This year's other notable supermarket Christmas ads from around the world include Australian grocer Aldi's nod to the absurd stressors of this most cheerful season, German supermarket Edeka's macabre (and vaguely sociopathic) family gathering, and U.K.-based Waitrose's straightforward ode to food.
Albert Heijn's contribution is also beautifully shot, if not as heart-stirring as Dick's Sporting Goods' spot … though nobody should try to eat any of the latter store's products.
Then again, imagine this young hero's disappointment when he finally gets to eat real food, which turns out to be turkey—not all that different from gnawing on a baseball mitt, actually.
Client: Albert Heijn
Campaign title: Ben's Christmas
Creative agency: TBWA\Neboko Amsterdam
Creatives: Hannah Mulder, Sam de Greef, Martijn van Marle, Sander Volleman
Production company: Pink Rabbit
Postproduction: Captcha Amsterdam
Director: Ismael ten Heuvel
DOP: Martijn van Broekhuizen
Editor: Martin Heijgelaar
Producer: Jony van Hees