Spot Explores the Power of Hugs, and What We Miss When We Can’t Be Close To One Another

Emotive ad for European fashion and lifestyle retailer Zalando, by Anomaly Berlin, features 90 seconds of people embracing

Anomaly Berlin and Zalando explore, and celebrate, the power of human touch in latest ad. Zalando / Anomaly Berlin

LONDON—The distance everyone’s had to create between themselves and their loved ones, thanks to Covid-19, is one major aspect that has made this year so tough.

For several months, particularly in Europe where social distancing is strongly encouraged, the pandemic has prevented people from having any physical contact with people outside of their homes.

That means no hand shakes, no fist bumps, no greeting kisses, and, perhaps most difficult of all—no hugs: not with parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, or anybody outside of your household.

Tapping into Europe’s longing for hugs, online retailer Zalando has created a 90 second holiday season ad that is essentially a beautiful montage of people embracing.

The spot, titled “We Will Hug Again,” seeks to convey the feeling of optimism and hope across Europe and was shot across Nigeria, Vietnam, Italy, Mexico, Sweden and Germany by four directors.

As part of the wider campaign the retailer’s agency, Anomaly, has created a series of intimate, emotive, documentary “hug portraits” featuring real people—including couples, friends, and family members.

“The central idea of our holiday campaign, human connection, is echoed in the way we engage with our customers. Our strategy is to be social first, allowing us to connect and engage with consumers through relevant and relatable stories,” said Barbara Daliri, Zalando’s senior vice president sales and marketing.

“It was important for us to address the exceptional circumstances and uncertainty of this holiday season and at the same time share with our community the feeling of hope for the time when we will be able to reconnect with our loved ones.” 

Veit Moeller, Anomaly Berlin executive creative director, added: “This simple but powerful campaign is a promise for our future. The goal was to peel off all those outer layers associated with the holiday season and identify the rawest and most iconic symbol of human connection: the hug.

“Shooting a campaign around the globe, totally remotely, during a global pandemic has been a beautiful challenge and we are excited to bring Zalando’s message to the world.”

CEO & Partner: Simon Owen
Executive Creative Director: Veit Möller
Chief Strategy Officer: Amanda Feve
Business Director: David Barton
Account Director: Joanna Hirst
Project Manager: Elli Pfahler
Senior Producer: Katrin Kaiser 
Strategist: Lennart Fleschhut
Creative Directors: Patrick Chambers and Delia Reyes
Copywriter: Omar Khairy
Lead Brand Campaign Management: Mona Herdener
Brand Campaign Manager: Katharina Kämpfe
Junior Brand Campaign Manager: Amit Margalit
Lead Account Manager: Milena Steinke
Senior Account Manager: Naomi Scholz
Senior Account Manager: Mona Mohamed Adel
Account Manager: Leonie Knorr
Head of Creative Direction: Lydia Gries
Art Director: Andrei Khashan
Director Global Social Media, PR and Influencer Marketing: Natalie Wills
Lead Global Social Media: Marieke Nelemann
Senior Manager Global Social Media: Alexandra Dröner

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