This British Holiday Campaign Promises Lucky Shoppers Their Own Personal White Christmas

TK Maxx's version of a Golden Ticket

Global warming must be getting really bad this year, because European retailer TK Maxx is offering customers a chance to have fake snow delivered to their house on Christmas Day, for free.

The discount department store and Wieden + Kennedy London are launching a new “White Christmas” campaign, hiding special two-foot snow globes in department stores across the U.K., Ireland, Germany and Poland, as well as online. Shoppers can find them starting this Friday (Nov. 17), and if they do, arrange to have TK Maxx send a crew to douse their home (or another location of their choosing) in snow.

A 60-second ad voiced by the unmistakable Bill Nighy promotes the stunt, featuring a family around the Christmas tree opening the presents that archetypical hot-dog-sniffing Grandpa has picked up at TK Maxx. Among them is one of the lucky snow globes, which he’s given to his granddaughter (an event that even warrants him looking up from his fire-roasted tube steak to smile at her). Upon ripping it open, she runs to the door, and opens it, only to be happily buried in a mini avalanche.

Outside, TK Maxx’s incredibly chic team is on hand with candy-cane snow bazookas and a dump truck full of the stuff, enough to make the whole family happy. Overhead, an artiste even sprinkles one last pinch of snowflakes on the suburban front yard from a rope ladder hanging off a helicopter—to ensure the experience is truly magical.

In reality, the marketer will work with Snow Business, which provides artificial snow for the film industry, to deliver on its promise.

A digital game, accessible via web or smartphone, will let users shake a virtual snow globe for shopping inspiration, and a chance to win gift cards to the store, or one of the “White Christmas” snow globes (and accompanying frost).

The effort evokes the sweepstakes nature of Willy Wonka’s method for granting entry to the Chocolate Factory, and it’s designed in part to do so. “We wanted to create a real and magical experience for our shoppers which is great fun and one in which everyone has a chance to participate,” says Deborah Dolce, group brand and marketing director at TK Maxx, adding that it’s “a snowy version of a Golden Ticket.”

It’s also meant to offer something more exciting than the traditional Christmas ad. (In the U.K., the holidays are to commercials what the Super Bowl is in the U.S.) But the early returns on that front, from marketers like John Lewis and Debenhams, are plenty charming. (Waitrose, for its part, doesn’t look like it’ll be needing TK Maxx’s snow services at all. Quite the opposite, in fact.)

Climate jokes aside, White Christmases are relatively rare in the U.K. The precise criteria get surprisingly complicated, but suffice it to say they occur somewhere in the country on average every six years, with the last one, in 2010, being unusually widespread. (Snowfall is more likely to occur in later winter months, between January and March).

Overall, it’s a sweet idea, which W+K will bring to life with help from three other shops—Mindshare, Ogilvy PR and Energy. A second ad, due Dec. 13, will feature one of the promised “White Christmas” experiences.

“TK Maxx is all about big gifts at small prices,” says Hollie Walker, creative director at W+K London. “We thought what better way to illustrate that than to stock the biggest gift at the smallest price—an actual white Christmas for absolutely nothing.”

Would-be winners shouldn’t worry that they might get gipped, though, if nature does deign to blanket their home in powder on Christmas, Walker suggests. “If it does snow, we’ve got a little something up our sleeves too,” she says.

Client: TK Maxx

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London
Creative Director – Hollie Walker
Creatives – Freddy Taylor, Andrew Bevan, Philippa Beaumont
Executive Creative Directors – Tony Davidson, Iain Tait
Group Account Director – Matt Owen
Account Director – Ollie Pym
Account Manager – Preety Mudhar
Head of Planning – Paul Colman
Planner – Alex Allcott
Head of Technology – Michael Naman
Interactive Producer – Sam Sammons
TV Producer – James Laughton
TV Production Assistant – Jasper Ford

Production Company – Friend London
Director – Ian Pons Jewell
MD/Executive Producer – Luke Jacobs
Producer – Richard Fenton
Production Manager – Erinn Fitzgerald
Director of Photography – Mauro Chiarello
Editorial Company – Final Cut London
Editor – James Rosen
VFX Company – Time Based Arts
VFX Supervisor – Stephen Grasso, Adam Patterson,
Sound Company – 750 MPH
Sound Designer – Sam Ashwell
Music Company – W Songs
Music Supervisor – Tristan Wilson

Interactive Production
Production Company Crew
Technical Director – Jens Meijer
Lead Developer – Simon Cam

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@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.