Heartwarming Christmas Tale from Sid Lee

The campaign is raising funds for La Tablée des Chefs, whose mission is to feed people in need and develop youths’ culinary education. 


Give us an overview of the campaign, what is it about and what was your role in the creation?

This holiday season, we came up with a concept and executed the campaign for our client IGA, also benefitting the charity La Tablée des Chefs. A Snack for Santa tells the tale of little Nico, who discovers his passion for cooking and finds inspiration in the gifts left for him by Santa. The two-minute animated film is the result of over six months of work by roughly forty Montreal- and Paris-based artists. The short film can be viewed on TV and online, with $1 for each Facebook share being donated to La Tablée des Chefs to support its mission of promoting culinary education among youth.

Additionally, we crafted a book from the film’s story that will also benefit the organisation. Our goal was not to launch another basic recipe book, but to encourage families to cook together, which led to us creating a completely new genre: a cooking tale. The text was written by André Marois (adapted in English by Ellen Warkentin), and the recipes created by Ricardo, Stefano Faita and the chefs at La Tablée.

A Snack for Santa is supported by additional content, including behind-the-scene clips of the creation of the campaign, as well as the famous cookies for Santa by Stefano. Families are also invited to share their own creations using the hashtag #ASnackForSanta.


Was the brief for this holiday campaign any different that than the usual? What challenges did that present?

It was quite different based on our client’s instinct that we could leverage our 3D-animated communications platform to create a touching “heartwarming Christmas tale” that would inspire the joy of cooking. We had been dreaming about this for years and when such an opportunity arrives, you just want to be up to the task.

There were multiple challenges as we had little time and a limited budget to create what we all wanted to be a beautiful movie. Since the client believed in the power of a well-crafted story, IGA moved media money into production, but still managed to air the 2-minute film during top TV show finales and key holiday rendezvous. This decision had to be made at the very beginning of the process, when the story only existed on paper.

With the making of an animated short film being so long and tedious, we could only achieve this with our creative partners being totally invested in the project and with the client trusting the makers from the start. That’s how we entered a 6-month production process with weekly (if not daily) working sessions with Mathematic Studios.


What inspired you to approach the campaign this way?

The holiday season is the busiest time of year, and we wanted to distinguish ourselves and create a campaign that promotes the true foundations of the holiday spirit: giving and family. As opposed to the typical 15 or 30-second spot, we offered a 2-minute break for consumers. We also felt it was important to give back, which is why the campaign is raising funds for La Tablée des Chefs, whose mission is to feed people in need and develop youths’ culinary education.

What’s a “behind the scenes” story that only you know about?  

In the movie, to mark the passage of time, the kid loses a tooth when he goes to the store with his mom. But the morning after, when he rushes down the stairs to see what Santa’s given him, his tooth has magically grown back. One of our team members spotted this discrepancy at the very, very last minute. We all felt like idiots because we’d seen this scene hundreds of times.


Are there any holiday ad tropes that you think should be retired by now?

Holiday imagery is full of clichés that can all be embraced and reinvented. It’s part of the challenge. Nothing is truly a no-go—it all depends on your take on it. 


What is your favorite holiday campaign of all time?

The John Lewis holiday campaign is always deliciously heartwarming, its last opus being particularly noteworthy.  


What can we expect from your agency in 2019?

Sid Lee will continue to create impactful, culturally relevant work across our many disciplines from traditional advertising to architecture. Our global collective has a lot of exciting projects on the horizon that we’re looking forward to working on in the New Year.  


What do you think the advertising industry's New Year’s resolution should be?

We want to continue our human-centric approach—focusing on what truly matters to people and how to make the most positive impact on culture.