Ad of the Day: A Boy’s Christmas Wish Comes True in This Lovely Coca-Cola Film

Building a bridge to Santa

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Coca-Cola isn't producing a new Christmas commercial for the U.S. market this year (it's doing some festive packaging instead) but has produced an impressive cinematic short film in Brazil that captures the wonder of the season through a child's eyes.

The spot, "Uma Ponte para Noel" ("A Bridge for Santa"), from J. Walter Thompson Brazil, tells the story of a village that Santa Claus appears to have forgotten in recent years. One boy in town speculates that it's because the main bridge into town is broken, and Santa's carriage can't cross it. He leaves a message for Santa in a Coke bottle, and his father, upon reading it, resolves to try to fix the bridge—hoping for a little Christmas magic.

The film was written by author, journalist and moviemaker José Roberto Torero (one of the screenwriters of the 1998 Oscar-nominated short film Uma História de Futebol) and directed by Fernando Grostein Andrade of Spray Filmes. Blasco Giurato (Cinema Paradiso) was the cinematographer.

Coke's famous illuminated Christmas trucks—first introduced in 1995 in a campaign from U.S. agency Doner—obviously play a key role in the new Brazilian film. And they are central to the larger campaign, which will include the story of Mathias being retold on the streets of Brazil through the parades of Coke's caravans. For those who don't see the parades, Coke is also making a special 360-degree animation for viewing on Google Cardboard.

The film was also screened at Kinoplex theaters all over Brazil.

This year also marks the launch of "Caravana Produções" ("Caravan Productions"), a make-believe production company that will (in real life, through Coke and JWT) invite screenwriters and directors to create future Christmas ads involving the Coke caravans. ("Uma Ponte para Noel" is the first in the series.)

"More than a campaign, we conceived this project as an entertainment platform. We want to turn Coca-Cola's Christmas caravans into the main character of a story that is retold every year, touching consumers all over Brazil across several platforms," said Marcelo Páscoa, head of integrated marketing communication at Coca-Cola Brazil.

"Our goal was to bring back the magic spirit of Christmas that Coca-Cola's Christmas caravans help revive, always inspiring us everywhere they go," added Ricardo John, chief creative officer at JWT Brazil.

Client: Coca-Cola
Agency: J. Walter Thompson Brazil
CCO: Ricardo John
CSO: Fernand Alphen
Head of Art: Fabio Simões
Head of Digital: Fábio Simões
Creative Director: Gustavo de Lacerda e Gustavo Soares
Script: José Roberto Torero, Ricardo John, Gustavo Soares
Copywriter: Julia Velo, Ana Cavalcanti e Guilherme Nesti
Art Director: Gustavo de Lacerda, Pablo Lobo, Ricardo Kawano, Fernanda Sousa, Ilka Freitas, Peu Coelho, Pedro Ricci.
Account Team: Felipe Giacon, Stefano Paduan, Daniel Rybak
Project Management: Thiago Segundo, Richard Wolter, Marina Masiero
Media: João Dabbur, Camila Bertoli, Stella Lopes, Beatriz Luna, Ligia Mattos, Allan Gomes, Juliana Magalhães, Mariana Santos
Planning: Isabella Mulholland, Sara Silva, Gisele Bambace
RTV Director/Artbuyer: Marcia Lacaze
RTV Producer/Artbuyer: Marcia Lacaze, Ana Mello
Digital Production:: Maisa Delgado, Sergio Costa
Client Approval: Adriana Knackfuss, Marcelo Pascoa, Bianca Rosenberg, Patricia Pieranti, Vinicius Limoeiro, Andreia Rebello, Carla Dart

Production Company: Spray Filmes
Direction: Fernando Grostein Andrade
Co Direction: Raoni Rodrigues
Photography Direction: Blasco Giurato
Photography Direction (2nd unit): Bruno Vieira
Executive Production: Luiz Ferriani Nogueira e Roberta Reigado
Account team: Lucia Leite, Daniele Pizzo e Carla Onishi
Art Direction: Claudia Calabi
Editing: Raoni Rodrigues, Caio Saad, Renan Cipriano e Kelvin Freitas
Finishing: Lili Carvalho, Driano Torres, Regina Mimi Yokota
Pos-Production: Raoni Santos, Zombie Studio e Dot Cine

Animation Production Company: Zombie Studio

Sound Production Company: B.A.start
Original Sound Track: Lucas Lima
Mixing and sound finishing: Pedro Lima (WeCanDo Audio Post)
Locutor (Traer): Walker Blaz

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.