Air Canada’s magical take on flying home for the holidays

Who: Air Canada and FCB, with Soft Citizen/Namesake for production, Saints for editing, and Apollo Studios for music.

What Part 1: “Lost Reindeer,” a three-minute “ad” about the unique emotional pull of being home with loved ones for the holidays.

What Part 2: The kind of ambitious Christmas ad that every agency wants to do, but we don’t see enough of in Canada.

When and Where: The extended version was published to YouTube Wednesday with cut-downs running across TV, cinema, in-flight and social/digital channels.

Why: This is a big time of year for travel, but rather than show people flying home to their families on Air Canada planes, the airliner chose a more sentimental take. Air Canada wanted to elevate its role during the holidays, said Andrew Shibata, managing director, brand at Air Canada. “[F]rom simply a carrier that provided a practical transportation solution to a more emotional one: A catalyst for fostering those magical reunions during the holidays.”

How: It’s a charming story about a group of young friends who discover a reindeer lost in the woods. When they realize it possesses magical flying powers, they set to work on a plan to get the animal home to the North Pole for Christmas. It’s like a children’s picture book about flying home for the holidays, adapted for the screen.

The music: “A perfect miracle” by Spiritualized.

What about the brand? Air Canada-inspired wings magically appear on the sleigh as it takes off for the flight to the North Pole. “It’s the most wonderful time to believe” appears as a super, before the closing shot of an Air Canada plane passing in front of a full-moon, Santa Claus style. In other words, not a lot of branding but it’s a charming piece of film about flying home for Christmas, brought to you by Air Canada.

Quote: “Our approach to the style of this campaign is different to past holiday campaigns. This year, we wanted a simple story using a more cinematic feel. What hasn’t changed is capturing the spirit of the season—by connecting people with their loved ones and showing our pride in a country the world admires so much,” said Shibata.

David Brown