The Spot: Cuckoo for Christmas

Maria Bamford is back as Target's demented Black Friday superfan in Wieden + Kennedy's latest holiday ads

GENESIS: Black Friday is lunacy—a stressful start to a stressful season. Advertisers pretend otherwise, wrapping holiday-sale messaging in anodyne platitudes about joy, love, and savings. Shoppers know better, and Target saw a chance to be honest with them. So, in 2009, the retailer and Wieden + Kennedy introduced one of the most hilariously odd advertising characters of all time: the Christmas Champ. Portrayed with frighteningly manic intensity by Maria Bamford, she's the world's biggest superfan of Christmas—and of Target, whose 2-Day Sale (Black Friday and the day after) represents her retail Super Bowl. Determined to "win" Christmas, the Champ returns this month for a third holiday season with 12 kooky new spots. "She represents the whole notion of Black Friday being a contact sport," says Dustee Jenkins, vp of communications at Target. "Love her or hate her, she resonates with our guests."