- Coca-Cola tapped Hollywood talent behind and in front of the camera for a pair of Christmas-themed short films entitled "The Santa Stories," per a company blog post.
- "The Note" is directed by Bryce Dallas Howard and stars Colm Meaney as a "scrooge-like protagonist," while "Ho Ho Heist" is a holiday thriller directed by Steven Caple Jr. that stars Octavia Spencer and Scoot McNairy. A 30-second trailer ad showcases both.
- "The Santa Stories" are available on Prime Video via Prime Video Direct, Amazon Freevee and the brand's YouTube channel. The branded content is the latest element of a holiday campaign that has revolved around digital experiences and artificial intelligence.
Coca-Cola is boosting its Santa-heavy Christmas campaign with a pair of short films that elevate branded content and storytelling. The beverage giant released its first branded entertainment series last Christmas, and the latest iteration allows Coke to move beyond traditional brand-focused advertising.
“The iconic Coke bottle is part of the narrative, not a product placement,” said Islam ElDessouky, the brand's global head of creative strategy and content, in the post. “If you take the Coke bottle out of the story, there is no story.”
The 14-minute short "Ho Ho Heist" is an L.A.-based heist film that sees St. Nick arrested alongside a crew of Santa-styled thieves. It stars Oscar-winner Spencer and was helmed by "Creed II" director Caple Jr. The more traditional "The Note" is a 10-minute Christmas fable starring veteran Irish actor Meaney as a bitter man whose faith is restored by a message in a Coke bottle.
The digital content was released on a variety of ad-supported channels, including Amazon's Freevee and Coke's YouTube channel, that remain popular with cord-cutting consumers. The project relied on a co-creation model that upped the brand's storytelling by working alongside actors, directors and other professionals known for blockbuster films.
“It’s one thing to have Octavia Spencer in a 30-second commercial, but a completely different ballgame to work with her on a short film where she’s in her natural element. She’s playing a character and representing certain values, which is super rich as a brand to tap into," ElDessouky said.
"The Santa Stories" are the latest element of the brand's holiday campaign, “The World Needs More Santas.” Launched last month in more than 80 markets worldwide, the effort featured a new ad alongside digital and experiential elements. Coke then expanded its generative AI-fueled “Create Real Magic” platform to allow consumers to design digital holiday cards with its brand assets.