Buddy the Elf stars in Asda’s 2022 Christmas campaign

Published on: 4th November 2022

Asda and Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products have teamed up to bring Buddy the Elf back to screens this Christmas – the first time Elf has ever been licensed for brand marketing. 

Asda has introduced a very special festive colleague starring in its 2022 Christmas campaign: Buddy the Elf, under licence from Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products.

Created by Havas London, the advert uses original footage from Elf to plant the beloved Buddy right at the heart of a bustling Asda store in the build-up to his favourite time of year. Reprising iconic lines from the UK’s favourite Christmas film, the ad – which premieres on Friday 4th November at 8.45pm on ITV1 in the Coronation Street ad break (and can also been seen below) – captures Buddy’s wide-eyed wonder and unbridled passion for all things festive.

The film opens with a loving homage to Elf’s iconic ‘street crossing’ scene featuring a train of Asda shopping trolleys instead of a New York City cab. This marks the beginning of a wondrous (if chaotic) trial shift, which sees Buddy marvel at Asda’s selection of Christmas goodies, eat all the free maple pigs in blankets samples, distract colleagues with his Christmas plans, and – of course – seize the chance to sing loudly over the store tannoy system.

However, when the store closes and Buddy adds his own magic touch, decking out the entire shop floor in fairy lights and festive decorations (while re-christening the ‘elf checkouts’), it’s quickly apparent that when it comes to Christmas, Buddy and Asda are a match made in heaven and he lands the job.

Sam Dickson, acting chief customer officer at Asda, said: “Like Buddy, we absolutely love Christmas, so we’re thrilled to welcome him to our team. We know this has been a tough year for so many people, which is why we want to create some little moments of joy for families this year with our Christmas campaign, and more importantly, our amazing products. We hope that with a bit of help from Buddy, our joy-filled Christmas offering will create some festive magic and help give families a Christmas to remember together.”

In order to seamlessly integrate classic footage into an all-new production, Framestore relied on meticulous planning and deft-touch VFX techniques. Having skilfully rotoscoped Buddy out of the original film, the team helped fit an entire new world around him that was faithful down to the last eyeline, shadow and cast interaction. Intricate match grading then provided the final festive touch, bringing our modern world closer to the look, feel and spirit of the beloved original film.

The campaign – the first time Elf has been licensed for brand marketing – will also see in-store tannoy announcements from Buddy himself, and Asda-exclusive Elf-themed food and clothing. Asda will also highlight 12 iconic products spanning its mid-tier, general merchandising, Extra Special and George ranges through a number of product-led TV, social and print ads.

Vicki Maguire, chief creative officer at Havas London, added: “No one embodies the feeling of Christmas more than Buddy the Elf. He lives for Christmas – and right now, that sense of unapologetic joy is just what we need. So, who better to be hired as an Asda seasonal colleague: he’s even branded in Asda colours. It’s the perfect partnership for Asda to ensure everyone is able to have the Christmas they deserve this year.”

Danny Kleinman, director, says: “For me this was a unique challenge, working with an A list Hollywood actor, without him being there in person, and crafting other actors around his iconic performance. It was important not only to make the action seamless but also convincingly transport him to a Christmas Asda store, creating a Hollywood feel to Asda’s Christmas celebrations.”

As part of its commitment to spreading Christmas cheer and making brighter moments possible for all this festive season, Asda will be giving a special festive surprise to five different community groups. Asda will also be collecting toys for children’s charities as part of its gift appeal.


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