‘The Greatest Gift’ was created by AMV BBDO, directed by Sam Fell from Passion Pictures, the puppets were built by Mackinnon and Saunders, the sets by Clockwork Frog, and the stop motion sequences were filmed at Malcolm Ryan Studios.
Whilst the heartwarming message of the ad (for Great Ormond Street Hospital) is very important for this time of year, I really really dislike certain parts of the execution of this advert. The narrative and idea are lovely, but the song is horrendous. I’m a big fan of James Corden’s ‘Car Pool Karaoke’, and during those videos we get to see that he actually has a really fantastic voice – so I’m not sure what on earth happened with this ad! Maybe they were trying to go for some sort of casual-dad-who-can’t-actually-sing sort of vibe, but I think it totally ruins the entire ad. Songs like Lily Allen’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ for John Lewis’s ‘Bear and the Hare’ (2013) ad is the perfect example of animation and music merging and flowing seamlessly into the narrative. The Sainsbury’s ad song is definitely not.
Despite all of this, the behind the scenes video above is fascinating – I had no idea it was all 3D printed and animated in studio – I assumed the production was all digital animation. It makes me like the advert a bit more… the production looks painstakingly delicate and intricate, which is why it’s such a shame that it’s ruined by an awful song!