Ever Wonder How the Easter Bunny Was Born? This Gorgeous Ad Tells a Sweet Origin Story

A curiously universal fable

Headshot of Angela Natividad

Despite (or maybe thanks to) years of inculcation by Cadbury Creme Egg ads, we’ve never thought much about how strange the concept of the Easter Bunny is. Who is this bunny that clucks like a chicken and lays eggs made of chocolate?

Thankfully, an ad from Germany is about to demystify the legend for us.

For food retailer Netto Marken-Discount, and ahead of Easter this Sunday, agency Jung von Matt and production house Mill+ give us “Die Oster-Überraschung—Der Wahre Osterhase,” or “The Easter Surprise—The True Easter Bunny.” Set in a magical woodland world, a hen and a rabbit meet eyes at a nightclub (don’t ask, it’s magic) and set up house. Together, they give life to a bunny hatched out of an egg.

Obviously, we know wonderful things await this kid (Cadbury ads, at the very least). But in the meantime, growing up proves traumatic and trying, as anyone else born a little bit “special” will tell you.

Teachers are mean, kids are cruel, and puberty brings an unexpected surprise: Our sweet hybrid hero begins randomly laying fully painted Easter eggs.

Set to the poignant song “Beautiful, Always,” the spot shows the bunny running away and being discovered by a sweet little girl on the outskirts of a human city … and it’s there that a star is born. (In an adorable depiction of fast money and excess, there’s even a McTeague-inspired shot of her rolling around in a bed of carrots, with radishes raining down from the sky.)

With fame comes reflection, and the fully fledged Easter Bunny ultimately reunites with her proud parents, with whom she shares her adventures over a lush forest feast.

“I have a love of old fairy tales and spent a lot of time watching animated features with my kids, so when Jung von Matt approached us with this quirky script, I knew we could make something special,” divulges Mill+ director Jimmy Kiddell.

Alongside set designers, Mill+ built a custom forest set, peopled with CG creatures.

“We knew the characters would be created in CG, but their location provided a different challenge,” Kiddell continues. “I have a fondness for puppetry and worlds with unusual scales, so the thought of building the interiors and a forest in a studio was too hard to resist. … The plethora of characters, settings and story points meant this project resembled the scope of a short film.”

It’s appropriate that a German brand recount the origins of the Easter Bunny because the concept hails from German Lutherans, though brands like Cadbury have since given it their own spin. The original “Easter Hare” was a Santa-style judge, deciding in advance whether kids were naughty or nice, then carrying baskets of eggs and toys to the good ones the night before.

But like the many modernized threads of Marvel characters, legends evolve. These days, we hide eggs for kids to find and put in their own baskets; it’s more a competitive sport than a moral test. And these days, that magical hare lays the eggs (and apparently also holds press sessions).

Still, “The Easter Surprise” glows with nuances. Here you don’t just learn how a hybrid bunny/hen is made and transformed into a mascot; you also get a subtle idea of how her precious eggs end up hidden in random parts of the forest. In a way, this is also a story about why children play a critical role in the egg-hunting tradition: It’s a child, after all, who comes across a lone egg, finds the bunny, and carries her to destiny.

“The Mill understood where we were heading and cooperated with us in an inspiring way,” says Jung von Matt’s executive director and partner, Dörte Spengler-Ahrens. “The strength of this story is that it touches on so many universal themes. That’s why we worked very hard to tell it in the most universal way—without dialogue, and through the power of pictures.”

Netto Marken-Discount is among Germany’s top three food discounters, with 4,180 stores and 21 million weekly customers. It is also a partner of the German WWF, committed to promoting sustainable Netto-branded products, reducing its carbon footprint and engaging in fair-trade partnerships.

Client: Netto Marken-Discount

Agency: Jung Von Matt
Managing Director: Stephan Giest
Partner/Executive Creative Director: Dörte Spengler-Ahrens
Creative Director: Andreas Hilbig
Client Service Director: Natalie Hoffmann, Natalie Martens
Producer: Dennis Wendt, Christopher Kehrhahn
Senior Art Director: Andreas Ristau
Senior Project Manager: Julia Matczak, Alexandra Schöne
Junior Copywriter: Adel Abouelfetouh
Junior Copywriter: Clemens Wolff
Junior Art Director: Vlad Tarziu

Production Company: Mill+
Head Of Content: Josh Davies
Director: Jimmy Kiddell
Producer: Terri Wood
Production Manager: Jo Coombes
1st Assistant Director: Marc Wilson
Director Of Photography: Tim Green
Production Designer: Dan Betteridge
Lead Model Maker: Kate McConnell

Edit House: The Mill
Editor: Hugo Vaughan-Hughes

VFX & Design: The Mill
Executive Producer: Reece Ewing
Producer: Rebecca Perry, Justin Stiebel
Head of Animation: Jorge Montiel
2D Lead Artist: Pete Hodsman
3D Lead/VFX Supervisor: Jonathan Wood
3D Lead Animator: Alberto Lara
Art Director: Melanie Climent
2D Artists: Gianluca Di Marco, Jorg Schulz-Gerchow, Rafael Vormittag, Eleanor Risdon, Charles Dockerill
3D Artists: Ashley Reemul, Jasmine Ghoreishi, Sauce Vilas, Antoine Mariez, Philippe Moine, Aziz Kocanaogullari, Luca Cantani, Ashley Tilley, Clement Granjon, Margaux Huneau, Jacob Gonzales, Nico Domerego, Anthony Bonnard, Antonio Filippin, Pavel Mamichev, Vladamir Venkov, Hugo Jackson, Jacques Leyreloup, Josh Docherty, Andreas Graichen, Thomas Bourret, Lucie Martinetto, Perrine Renard, Alain Thay, Walter How, Francesco Pelosi, Andrew Bartholomew, Lavan Kumar, Vittal Kuntla, Sivasubramanian
Concept Artist: Jimmy Kiddell, Melanie Climent, Andrew Brooks, Grant Berry
Matte-Painting: Cameron Johnson
R&D: Craig Davies

Color: The Mill
Colorist: Seamus O’Kane

Song title: Beautiful, Always
Music Production Company: 2WEI
Composers: Stephan Altman, Roisin Malone, Simon Heeger, Christian
Executive Music Producers: Simon Heeger & Christian Vorländer
Vocalist: Tal Altman
Sound Design: Thomas Muis

@luckthelady angela.natividad@gmail.com Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.