Iceland Wishes You a Very Merry Fishmas in Quirky Seafood Ad

To promote its seafood, the country introduces Father Fishmas and his elves

Father Fishmas and his fisherman elves were created to promote Icelandic seafood. Seafood from Iceland / Brandenburg

The Icelandic people are so proud of their country’s fish that they celebrate it twice a week with Fishmas—well, they do according to a new quirky video and social campaign by agency Brandenburg for client Seafood from Iceland.

At the heart of the campaign, running in the U.K. and U.S. to promote the Icelandic fare to oversees customers, is an edgy film that shows people in Iceland, including fisherman elves and Father Fishmas, preparing for the twice-weekly Fishmas celebrations where families come together for a fish meal (think Christmas minus the turkey).

The idea of Fishmas was entirely made up by the agency, which reckons that as Germany and Spain both have their own food and beverage-centric holidays (Oktoberfest and La Tomatina, respectively), Iceland should have its own version.

As well as the film, Brandenburg created, where consumers can find fish recipes (because, the agency said, “no holiday is complete without festive recipes, good food and pleasant family meals.”)

The offbeat festive idea, Brandenburg creative director Hrafn Gunnarsson told Adweek, is designed to promote Icelandic fish as a premium product and capture people’s attention with humor. He said the concept was a bit like “Christmas with an abundance of cod.”

“Fishmas is Iceland’s celebration of fish. Fish is the pride of Iceland’s cuisine, it’s one of the most important part of the Icelandic economy and our main export. So to introduce the world to it, we created this celebration and its spokesperson, Father Fishmas,” he said. “But unlike other celebrations and festivals, Fishmas comes at least twice a week because Icelanders have been taught from an early age to eat fish no less than twice every week.”

“The ad tells the story of Father Fishmas and how he goes about his days preparing for the big celebration. It was a good way to incorporate the four main properties of the product: high-tech production, sustainability, and the legacy and purity of Icelandic fish,” he added. “We wanted to create an interesting and a funny story without compromising the credibility of the product.”

The ad was filmed in Iceland after the lockdown, and to maintain social distancing scenes had to be carefully executed, with actors and crew separated into different groups, Gunnarsson said.

Client: Seafood from Iceland
Agency: Brandenburg
Creative Director: Hrafn Gunnarsson
Copywriters: Jón Oddur Guðmundsson, Bragi Valdimar Skúlason, Elín Þórsdóttir
Designer: Jón Páll Halldórsson
Account Executive: Sigríður Theódóra Pétursdóttir
Production Company: Republik
Director: Magnús Leifsson
Producer: Hannes Friðbjarnarson
D.O.P.: August Jakobsson
Photography: Svenni Speight & Kristján Maack

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