A piece of discarded mistletoe leads to an impromptu romantic moment on the street; a little girl stealthily steals a piece of turkey from the kitchen to share with the family dog; old friends laughing when they realize they both wore the same ugly sweater to a holiday party. It’s the little moments like these that often mean the most during the holidays, as evidenced by the charming new “Little Things” campaign created in-house for JCPenney and directed by Don Broida of production company Spears & Arrows.

“This opportunity for Broida and Spears could not have been more perfect,” Jason Wolk, Spears & Arrows Founder/Executive Producer, says. "Broida was able to focus on both premium storytelling and design driven promo work – all while retaining a thru-line of authenticity to remain connected to our audience. At S&A, we are not just a content studio, we're focus on how to improve sales in the marketplace. We research our clients and their demographic and speak directly to them. In this case, we were so fortunate to have a pillar of a brand in JCPenney to focus on. We expect great holiday sales for JCPenney based on the success of the emotional and authentic spots. Working with high level partners like Kathleen Torres, Lucinda Simmons, Candyce Vanterpool and Josh Schoemaker made the collaboration that much more developed and sophisticated.”

The mammoth 9-day shoot incorporated 20 spots -- 9 x :15 brand spots with some Spanish speaking versions, as well as 11 x :15 promotionally driven spots with an array of content for social media and online – all reflect the retailer’s creative strategy to target a younger, more contemporary audience.

“We tried to give these a cooler vibe by shooting at night with more cinematic lighting and taking a lightly unscripted approach to story so that the camera bounces around the room, picking up on bits of action and conversation before settling into the main narrative,” Broida says.  

All the spots are affecting in their own unique way, but for Broida the spot entitled “Matching Sweaters,” which depicts the moment when two old friends realize they’ve both wore the same ugly sweater, is particularly impactful.

“That one seems to check all the boxes in terms of humor, emotion, casting, performance, etc.,” Broida says, “but it’s also about an item that JCPenney actually sells, which from a marketing standpoint, makes it all the more perfect.”

Also perfect is the fact that the campaign is having the desired effect. According to a survey of the top 10 most “heartfelt” holiday ads so far this year by Ace Matrix, the ad “Special Moments,” featuring an older couple, some found mistletoe and a kiss, placed eighth. 

For Broida, the success of the campaign was evident and apparent even during the early days of the long shoot.

“With this project we early on got into a nice rhythm where everyone was working as one cohesive unit from the creatives to the production team,” Broida adds. “It’s a great moment as a director when you look around the set and see everyone is in sync and trying to make something as great as it can be. Everyone is open to suggestions and experimenting. When there's trust in the process and a desire from everyone to make something special, that's when the best work comes out.”

About Spears & Arrows
Spears & Arrows defends the story and operates with deep values of ethics and humanity. Pursuing and acting with Honor, Passion, Excellence & Inspiration, Spears & Arrows are a team that values the balance and blend of best practices with the best talent in commercial production. The company is represented by Hello Tomorrow on the East Coast; Goodrebel on the West Coast and Texas; and by Rob Mueller of The House of Representatives in the Mid-West.