Top Spot of the Week: Goodby, Director Craig Gillespie, Steve Carell Give "The Greatest Gift" For Xfinity

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Robert Goldrich
Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020

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This year, working from home has become the new norm. And the ability to stay connected virtually has allowed us to pull off in new and inventive ways what was previously unimaginable. That is the ingenuity taking center stage in Xfinity’s 2020 holiday campaign created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P).

Centerpiece of the campaign is “The Greatest Gift,” a three-and-a-half-minute film, for which a two-minute version airs during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade today (11/26). "The Greatest Gift" features Santa Claus, played by Steve Carell, who shocks the North Pole with a last-minute charge to his merry elves. Given the rough year 2020 has been, the usual toys and gifts just aren’t going to cut it. With just days left ’til the holiday, the elves will have to come up with something bigger and better. After an initial panic, they realize that there’s one thing everyone truly needs in this most unusual year: a little more togetherness. Magically, they begin packaging up all the little moments that make the season bright--from the smell of grandma’s cooking to family snowball fights--reminding Santa, and us all, of the true meaning of the holidays, particularly this year.

Craig Gillespie of MJZ, known for his work in commercials and features (I, Tonya and Disney’s upcoming Cruella), directed “The Greatest Gift,” with visual effects from studio a52.

“People have always turned to classic holiday stories for escape and inspiration during difficult times,” said GS&P executive creative director Jim Elliott. “In fact, some of the most cherished holiday films and songs were born directly from them. Given the year we’ve just had, we decided to go back to the basics of holiday storytelling and revisit a classic narrative through a present-day lens.”

“Getting the chance to tell a story about how Santa and the elves work together to pull off the impossible in a year when we’ve all had to wrestle with what work now looks like has been a special experience,” said GS&P co-chairman Jeff Goodby. “And the chance to shape it with an actor as beloved as Steve Carell gives the film an extra feeling of warmth.”

An Academy Award nominee, and Golden Globe, SAG and WGA Award winner, Carell plays Santa Claus who tries to maintain a veneer of calm in between bouts of insomnia and stress-eating binges with his reindeer.

“The holidays are really about moments of togetherness with the people you love, and serve as a reminder for what’s most important, especially given the hardships of this past year. I hope that this sweet little story will bring a bit of cheer,” said Carell.

“It’s rare to have such a special project come along,” said director Gillespie. “Being able to collaborate with the agency and craft a message borne of this particular moment that captures a longing for togetherness was very gratifying. And having the opportunity to work with Steve Carell was a dream come true. He brought the heart, warmth and humor that is the magic of this spot.”

Beyond the film, Xfinity is bringing moments of togetherness to life with a Pinterest activation called The Greatest Gift Shoppe—a virtual one-stop-shop designed to help keep families connected through the holidays. With activities such as custom blanket-fort designs, recommendations on the best holiday movies, and tips on how to make the most of yuletide virtual get-togethers, The Greatest Gift Shoppe helps everyone celebrate what matters most in joyous ways. Beyond the film and Pinterest activation, Xfinity is bringing moments of togetherness to life with its products and services and also via its social channels starting Thanksgiving Day.

Credits

Client Comcast/Xfinity Agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners Jeff Goodby, Rich Silverstein, co-chairmen; Margaret Johnson, chief creative officer; Jim Elliott, executive creative director; Jon Wolanske, Jon Wyville, creative directors; Justin Ralph, associate creative director; Hans Schenck, Stevan Chavez, art directors; Mike Gallucci, copywriter; Ryan Self, design director; Benny Gold, Pedro Zuccolini, designers; Bonnie Wan, head of brand strategy; Kelly Evans-Pfeifer, Katie Coane, group strategy directors; James Horner, executive producer; Kateri McLucas, producer. Social team: Bob Cohen, creative director; Ross Fischer, associate creative director; Shareina Chandler, copywriter; Katy Wells, art director; Gemma Edward, executive producer. Production Company MJZ Craig Gillespie, director/DP; David Zander, president/exec producer; Emma Wilcockson, exec producer; Martha Davis, producer; Adam Arkapaw, DP; Jamie Vickers, production designer. Editorial Rock Paper Scissors Haines Hall, editor; Kevin  Goolsby, assistant editor; Shada Shariatzadeh, exec producer; Kevin Gottlieb, post producer. Sound Design LSD, Santa Monica, Calif. Michael Anastasi, sound designer, Kai Paquin, sound design assistant. Audio Post Lime Studios, Santa Monica, Calif. Adam Primack, mixer; Ian Connie, audio assistant; Susie Boyajan, exec producer. VFX a52, Santa Monica, Calif. Patrick Murphy, VFX supervisor; Andrew Romatz, CG supervisor; Andy McKenna, Urs Furrer, Stefan Gaillot, Matt Sousa, Richard Hirst, Adam Flynn, Michael Vaglienty, Kevin Stokes, Chris Riley, 2D VFX artists; Ariana Ziae Mohseni, lead CG lighter; Dustin Mellum, Aemilia Widodo, Josh Dyer, Jun Kim, Weiyo Sha, Miguel Salek, Derek Friesenborg, Mike DiNocco, Jaemin Lee, Quinton Woodson, Joe Paniagua, Jose Limon, Bryan Cox, Jade Smrz, Joe Chiechi, Michael Bettinardi, Joey Bettinardi, 3D artists; Nick Hiatt, Jie Zhou, matte painters; Chris Riley, John Valle, online editors; Everett Cross, Andrew Rosenberger, producers; Patrick Nugent, Kim Christensen, exec producers; Stacy Kessler Aungst, head of production; Michael Steinmann, head of CG production; Jennifer Sofio Hall, managing director; Daniel de Vue, colorist; Dylan Bursick, Corey Martinez, color assistants; Jenny Bright, color producer; Thatcher Peterson, exec producer. Design Studio Elastic Nadia Tzuo, art director; Trix Taylor, Lucy Kim, Chad Danieley, animators; Mitchell Fraser, coordinator; Zach Wakefield, deputy head of production; Luke Colson, exec producer; Kate Berry, head of production; Luke Colson, exec producer; Kate Gerry, head of production. (Toolbox: Flame, Maya, Vray, Houdini, Ornatrix, Marvelous Designer, ZBrush, Substance Painter, Photoshop, Nuke) Music Company Songs for Film & T.V. David Fisher, music supervisor; “Dreamer” performed by Roger Hodgson and written by Roger Hodgson, Richard Davies; Eric Kinny, Bruce Driscoll, composers.

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