This Holiday Ad About An Elderly Man’s Love For Music Will Melt Your Heart

Animated Christmas spot for Austrian bank Erste Group explores loneliness, friendship and hope

Heartwarming spot for Erste Group uses animation to tell a story about an elderly man named Edgar. Erste Group / Jung von Matt/DONAU

It’s a sad fact of our busy society that there are many elderly people living in residential care homes away from family. This year has perhaps been the toughest of all for the elderly and their loved ones, who have had to navigate Covid-19 visitor restrictions.

A new, heartwarming Christmas spot from Austrian financial services group Erste Group tackles the issue of elderly loneliness.

“Loneliness and isolation have been the defining themes of this pandemic year,” said Martin Radjaby-Rasset, head of group brand management at Erste Group. “Unfortunately, that is likely to remain true for most people also during the Christmas season, when we would usually get a chance to be close to our family and friends. We wanted to show what’s possible when people are there for each other and when they believe in themselves and others, especially in these times.”

The ad by agency Jung von Matt DONAU and Passion Animation Studio U.K. (the company behind McDonalds’s latest holiday ad) is titled “#EdgarsChristmas” and will run in 11 markets across central and eastern Europe. It tells the story of an elderly composer named Edgar who is lonely and withdrawn, and refuses to wear his hearing aid—which makes him all the more isolated.

His caregiver, Marie, finds some of his musical scores among his personal items and decides to surprise him by gathering other musicians in the home to recreate it. After seeing the piano, he puts in his hearing aid and is transported to happy memories of playing the piano many years ago with his mother.

Jung von Matt DONAU creative director Michael Nagy said: “This year we’re addressing a theme that’s important for Christmas every year, but all the more in these exceptional times—namely: being there for each other. That’s what drives Marie, the optimistic and lively caregiver who doesn’t want to accept that the ageing composer Edgar is increasingly withdrawing into himself as his hearing loss progresses.”

Debbie Crosscup, executive producer at Passion, said while lockdown restrictions made production a challenge—working remotely had actually “freed” the company to work with animators all over the world: “We built a unique team, with members from Canada to Europe, who have come together to tell this incredible story.”

Client: Erste Group Bank AG
Head of Group Brand Management: Martin Radjaby-Rasset
Group Brand Management: Daniel Ratzenböck, Juraj Flimel
Social Media: Klaus Lackner
Agency: Jung von Matt/DONAU
Creative Director: Andreas Putz, Mike Nagy
Copywriter: Caspar Satek
Art Director: Mike Nagy, Caspar Satek
Consultation: Katharina Höller, Katharina Hinterkörner
Production: Passion Animation Studios (U.K.)
Directors: Kyra Buschor & Constantin Paeplow
Animation Director: Ferran Casas, Kyra  Buschor & Constantin Paeplow
Executive Producer: Debbie Crosscup
Head of Production: Mike Turoff
Producer: Anna Cunnington
Production Assistant: Katie Harris
CG Coordinator: Sade Tah
Head of CG: Jason Nicholas
VFX Supervisor: Dave Walker
CG Supervisor:  David Watson
Music: Mcasso (U.K.)
Composer: Mike MacLennan for Mcasso
Sound Design: Tom Martin at Mcasso
Producer: Tom Martin at Mcasso
Assistant Producer: Emma Winton at Mcasso
Orchestra: Budapest Scoring Orchestra
Orchestral Mixer: Adam Miller at Air Studios
Additional Mixing: Richard Atkinson at Mcasso
Post Production: Unit Studios (U.K.)
Colorist: Denny Cooper
Producer: Joanna Papayianni 
2D Artist: Richard Greenwood
Media Agency: Wavemaker, Sabine Binder-Wessely

@saramayspary Sara Spary is a freelance journalist based in London. She's been a reporter for eight years, covering advertising and consumer brands.