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Apple holiday ad tugs on heartstrings—but not too tightly

Jason Reitman, expert of the tragicomedy film genre with creations such asJuno,Young Adult, andUp in the Air, has done it again. This time, for Apple’s annual holiday ad, he pairs up for the first time with his equally acclaimed film director dad Ivan Reitman, known for classic family hits such asGhostbusters andSpace Jam.

Apple's three-minute film, shot on the iPhone 13 Pro, centres on a young girl who goes to great lengths to save her snowman—called Simon—from destruction, initially from her brother’s blasé attitude towards attacking snowmen. The girl then stores Simon in her freezer with the hope of keeping him alive throughout the year until it snows again. Through power outages and an overcrowded freezer, Simon lives on long enough to deliver a sweet message at the end about waiting to be reunited with loved ones.

Apple holiday ad tugs on heartstrings—but not too tightly

Without being too saccharine, as this genre of holiday ads can often be, the Reitman father-son duo uses quick montage-style edits and chuckle-worthy moments to drive home the film’s message with refinement. For example, there’s one suitably amusing scene at the 1:30 mark where the film’s exasperated protagonist tapes her freezer door shut to further protect Simon. But this scene immediately cuts to her mother casually ignoring the tape to store leftovers in the freezer.

A 60-second version of the commercial will run on broadcast and online TV, with the longer-form film on YouTube and 15- and 6-second feature-specific shorts running on digital and social. The behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film (above) is also available on YouTube.


Agency: TBWA Media Arts LabDirectors: Jason Reitman and Ivan ReitmanDP: James WhitakerProduction Company: Bob IndustriesMusic: Valerie June “You and I”

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