Apple’s ‘Christmas advert about Christmas adverts’ is thoughtfully sentimental

Apple’s ‘Christmas advert about Christmas adverts’ is thoughtfully sentimental

'Fuzzy Feelings' from Apple this Christmas.

Directed by Emmy Award winner Lucia Aniello (known for her work on ‘Hacks’) and stop-motion expert Anna Mantzaris, Apple’s Christmas advert 2023 begins by playing with audience expectations that the commercial will be a traditional Christmas stop-motion animation, before panning to the animator behind the production, who is filming her work via Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro Max and MacBook Air: the very products the actual advert was filmed and produced on.

The technology appears ‘incidentally’ however, with the thrust of the advert focusing on storytelling, much like the brand’s 2021 ‘Snowman’ ad, which was also created alongside TBWA\Media Arts Lab.

The advert’s story, soundtracked by George Harrison’s Isn’t It A Pity, follows the animator’s struggle to draw influence for her Christmas stop-motion production (a conundrum no doubt relatable to many creatives), and explores her real life experiences observing her grumpy boss, who it transpires she has based her hapless stop-motion character on.

Apple’s statement said: Apple says: “Creativity has the power to change how we see each other and the world. Sometimes, seeing things through a new lens can make all the difference. You make the holidays. Stop-motion was shot on iPhone 15 Pro Max and edited on MacBook Air.”

Anna Mantzaris, a filmmaker commissioned by Apple to create this holiday ad, said: “I feel like stop-motion is like my language. For me, that gives me a lot of freedom in how I can tell a story. This was my first time shooting on an iPhone, and it’s been really interesting to see what it could do! I was very happily surprised that it could actually shoot in 48MP and it would shoot RAW files.

“It’s important to have because you want to capture all of the details of the sets, and it’s quite cool that it’s possible on your phone,” she says. “So, on set, we were using a MacBook Air and the Dragonframe software. That is the way I always work and shoot my films, so the phone was able to work with our usual process. It’s been a pleasure working with Apple to bring this film to life.”

You can see more about her creative process here.

Apple’s offering this year seems oddly targeted at Creative Moment’s readers, with references to advert production, the creative process, and the technology behind it. We’ll try not to let that blind us, however, because the story it tells is powerful on its own merits, with its subtle message about everyday kindness able to win over even the coldest heart.


Agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab
Director: Lucia Aniello
DP: James Laxton
Production Company: Hungry Man
Animation Director: Anna Mantzaris
Animation Production Company: Passion Pictures
Music: ‘Isn’t It a Pity’ by George Harrison

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