Doner Animates for Blockbuster

Santa Gets Japanese Styling in TV, Print Campaign for the Holidays
DETROIT–W.B. Doner & Co.’s holiday campaign for Blockbuster, breaking today, has Santa and a sleigh, but gets away–far away–from the traditional.
Promoting the video retailer’s gift cards, Doner’s TV and print ads feature “anime,” the Japanese-style animation familiar to kids who watch syndicated cartoons.
The campaign includes a 30-second TV spot with a 15-second edit for co-op versions. The spot’s star is a “very buff, superhero-type Santa Claus,” said Amy Faulkner, Doner executive producer. He dashes through the night sky on a metallic, spaceshiplike sleigh, powered by brassy and roboticlike hinged reindeer with white eyes and steam-emitting nostrils, said Gary Gottschalk, Doner senior art director.
“It’s not your typical Santa Claus,” said Scott Parks, Blockbuster advertising director. “He’s not jolly with cheeks full of jelly and rolls and so forth. This is sort of a high-tech Santa. He’s definitely got some attitude.”
Absent from the spot is the “Go home happy” tagline developed by former Blockbuster agency Young & Rubicam, New York. The line is used in print ads, however, and will continue in some future advertising, said Doner representative David Kiley.
The effort is the Southfield, Mich., agency’s first full campaign for Blockbuster since succeeding Y&R as lead agency on the company’s $100 million-plus account in October.
The objective of the spot, which targets consumers ages 18-34, is to break through the clutter of holiday retail advertising and promote the value and convenience of the Blockbuster gift cards, Parks said. And to give consumers “a little something for their own stocking,” he said, the company is offering a free $5 gift card with purchase of $50 worth of cards.
This is “a much more integrated effort than we’ve done in the past” for the holiday season, Parks added.
All of the creative work on the spots was completed in North America in about three months, Faulkner said. The spot was produced through Colossal Pictures in San Francisco, and the animation was created by Chuck Gammage in Toronto, she said.
Print ads play off the TV spot with a similar style and will run in Parade, USA Today Weekend, People, Newsweek and women’s books such as Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Woman’s Day. Radio is also planned.