The Year’s Weirdest Holiday Ad Will Leave You Asking, ‘What the Fox?!’

Oddbins gets feral

So, what does the fox say in this cool/creepy Christmas spot by Spectrecom Films for Oddbins, a chain of British wine shops?

Not a word. And yet, the ruddy creature comes across as one badass holiday mascot, like something out of a horror flick, more likely to go for the jugular than spread yuletide cheer.

And it's nothing more than a plush toy!

Still, the malevolence is palpable when a Scrooge-type dude walks into Oddbins to pick up some vino. From the eerie musical cues, we know something's amiss: This will not be a touchy-feely John Lewis-type Christmas ad. The guy goes all bah-humbug on the clerk, decrying the season as "bloody nonsense" and whining incessantly. As he shops, a fox, breathing in Darth Vader tones, pokes its snout out from behind one of the shelves, then walks up behind the guy on its hind legs … and ties his shoelaces together!

Then the really strange stuff begins. Watch below to avoid spoilers before reading on:

Whoa! Fox knows how to party … and pogo! And did you see it "tear" into that Christmas turkey? (Or maybe it's Monty the Penguin?) Pretty neat, especially since he doesn't even have any teeth.

So, what's the point of all this weirdness? Or should we say, in the parlance of the campaign itself, #WhatTheFox?

"We needed a Christmas ad that represented the Oddbins brand—wacky, edgy and not afraid to go against the grain," Ayo Akintola, managing director of Oddbins, tells AdFreak. "And at this time of the year, schmaltzy Christmas ads are 10 a penny, so we decide to stay true to our brand and stand out from the masses at the same time."

Taking its initial inspiration from the classic holiday film The Snowman, Oddbins "liked the idea that the ad would begin with a slightly sinister tone before surprising everyone with a bizarre Christmas twist," Akintola said.

The actors—Will Harrison-Wallace and Hayley Canning (a Spectrecom employee who stepped into the role at the last minute)—turn in great performances and keep the narrative grounded (more or less) despite the bizarre goings-on.

And, we're told, a merry time was had by all.

"The shoot took place overnight across 14 consecutive hours," Akintola recalls. "So, at some unearthly hour in the morning, when our actor Will was bouncing on a pogo stick, laughing manically with a fox around his neck, the hysteria was almost palpable."


Client: Oddbins

Production Company: Spectrecom Films

Producer: Laura Merrett

Director: Mark Jackson

Camera Operator: Kieran Hodges

Gaffer: Laurentiu Maria

Creative: Danielle Wilmot

Editor: Mark Jackson

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.