Macy’s Holiday Ad Is a Touching Tale of Being Apart From Those We Love at Christmas

An astronaut mom receives a surprising connection to home

A gift from home connects an astronaut with her family in Macy's holiday ad from BBDO New York. Macy's
Headshot of David Griner

The Space Station is only about 250 miles from Earth, and astronauts are never alone there, yet it remains a perfect modern metaphor for isolation. The reason is simple: It’s the ultimate mental image of being separated from our loved ones.

Earlier this year, Ronald McDonald House and Canadian agency Cossette used the image allegorically, illustrating a mom’s feeling of not being able to visit her child in the hospital.

Now, for the holiday season, Macy’s and agency BBDO New York take to orbit for a more literal story of a family separated at Christmas while mom is serving solo on a spacecraft. Through a series of brief and potent scenes, we watch from both the Earth and space as the holidays near and hopes for a family reunion dwindle.

But luckily, her daughter planned ahead for just such a contingency:

Admittedly, NASA purists might find the whole scenario a bit silly, partly because it takes place aboard a fictional solo spacecraft that’s quite a bit lonelier than the real International Space Station.

One might picture Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s eerily lonesome video playing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” but in fact he’s said serving in space was actually a very different experience: “On board the space station, we were there with five good friends most of the time, and we could see the whole world out the window, see the entire planet over and over again,” he told U.S. News and World Reports. “And we’re constantly talking to mission control, we had email, I could phone my wife and I could communicate via social media. So I have never felt more connected with everybody on Earth.”

And, of course, NASA engineers would be apoplectic at the idea of countless tiny bits of styrofoam floating about the carefully controlled cabin.

But setting aside such fetters of reality, one has to admit Macy’s found a lovely and memorable image for the holidays—while also quietly celebrating women in STEM careers (BBDO also being the agency behind Barbie’s recent push to empower girls in fields like science and math).

Plus, who hasn’t wanted to live in a snow globe at some point? Except for all those people who worked at St. Elsewhere?


Agency: BBDO
Worldwide Chief Creative Officer: David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer New York: Greg Hahn
EVP, Executive Creative Director: Danilo Boer
EVP, Executive Creative Director: Marcos Kotlhar
SVP, Senior Creative Director: Tom Kraemer
SVP, Senior Creative Director: Peter Alsante
VP, Creative Director: Bianca Guimaraes
Senior Project Manager: Noreen Masih
VP, Group Executive Producer: Dan Blaney
Executive Producer: Katie Porter
Associate Producer: Corie Rosenblatt
Business Affairs Manager: Nancy Espinal
SVP, Director of Music: Rani Vaz
Music Producer: Julia Millison
SVP, Group Planning Director: Yin Chung
VP, Planning Director: Liz Simons
EVP, Senior Director: Corey Cirillo
Account Director: Justin Perrelli
Account Executive: Charlie Kunze
Account Executive: Clare Driggs

Production: Epoch Films
Director: Martin De Thurah
EP: Melissa Culligan
Line Producer: Michaela Johnson
DP: Chayse Irvin

Editorial: Work Editorial
Executive Producer: Erica Thompson
Sr Producer: Jamie Lynn Perritt
Producer: Chris Delarenal
Editor: Rich Orrick
Assistant Editor: Theo Mercado

VFX: Blacksmith
VFX Supervisor / Lead Compositor: Daniel Morris
VFX Supervisor: Iwan Zwarts
VFX/CG Supervisor: Olivier Varteressian
Executive Producer: Charlotte Arnold
VFX Producer: Bindy St. Leger
CG Artist: Tuna Unalan, Michael Marsek, Casey Reuter, Vitaliy Burov
CG FX Artist: Rick Walia
Compositors: Robert Bruce, Tim Reagan, Nick Tanner, Jacob Slutsky, Yebin Ahn
Matte Painter: Sue Jang

Music: Soundtree Music
Executive Producer: Jay James

Music title: HOME
Composed by Joel Hartman for Soundtree Music
Published by Soundtree Music Publishing
Head of Music Production: Luis Almau
MD/Producer: Jay James

Final Mix: Sonic Union
Mixer: Steve Rosen

Sound Designer: Brian Emrich


@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."