Ad of the Day: Parents Get Their Kids to Ask Santa for a Lexus in Automaker’s Holiday Ads

Sometimes you have to hijack their direct line to the big man

Lexus has rolled out its 2016 Christmas campaign, the latest installment of its "December to Remember" sales event advertising from agency Team One, and it has various adults manipulating kids into hitting up Santa for a Lexus this year.

This means everything from people telling their kids what to say on Santa's lap (in case they blank and ask for a football), to a mom taking over her daughter's Santa letter, to a dad interrupting his kid's video conference with Santa.

Let's pause there, actually, because the entire point of Santa is that he only leaves the North Pole once a year. Having 24/7 access to him kills the whole mystique. For that matter, is there a rule that only children can communicate with Santa? I feel like a grown-ass man or woman could ask for a car directly with the same odds as anyone else. That's how it works in sitcoms, anyway.

As you ponder that, check out the five ads here:

Another point to consider: Does Lexus make a deal with Santa where he gets a set number of cars to distribute as gifts? Do other manufacturers have similar arrangements with him? I feel like we need another set of ads just to make sense of his inventory.

Moving on, the ads are cute, but it always weirds me out when Christmas ads don't even bother with the family-and-togetherness part of the holiday before running at full gallop to the gifts. Especially when the scenario is about gaming the system in such merciless fashion—using kids to get a free car out of Santa.

It's less corny than the Christmas ads of previous generations, but far more heartless.

"The holidays are a magical time for children, but this year's campaign reminds everyone, regardless of age, that they're never too old to wish," says Brian Smith, Lexus vp of marketing. "Kids have a lifeline to Santa that adults can't touch, and these spots offer a genuine yet humorous take on families working together so everyone can have a December to remember."

The broadcast spots break Wednesday on network and cable television, sports channels and more. The "Santa Cam" spot will be translated for the Hispanic market, and a second version of "Forgery" will be created for the Asian-American market.

Check out a print ad below, with illustrations from artist Andrew Bannecker—and yes, the big red bows on top of the Lexi. 

Client: Lexus
Agency: Team One David Kiefaber is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak.