Alltel’s Puppet Parody ‘Rocks’

BOSTON Those Rankin/Bass Yuletide puppet specials are always good fodder for holiday commercial parodies. Alltel’s “The Holiday Which Almost Didn’t Rock,” via ad shop Campbell-Ewald and production house Bent Image Labs, is among the best I’ve seen. The ambience is dead-on ’60s kitsch, effortlessly integrated with post-modern attitude (the elves use snowflakes as ninja throwing stars and the reindeer puncture a van’s tires with their antlers). The spot extends the current live-action campaign, presenting animated caricatures of the Alltel branded personalities, like hero salesman Chad and the guys from rival wireless carriers in their brightly colored shirts. This may sound like overkill, but it works surprisingly well, especially when Santa takes the “naughty boys” to task in his narration. The source material is part of our shared pop-culture heritage and the actual “sell” is soft enough to avoid seeming crass. What more could one ask for—except maybe a Motorola Rokr from Alltel beneath the tree?