TUI Christmas 4

Santa's Elves Jet Off in TUI's First Ever Festive Campaign

Created by Leo Burnett, the campaign sees Santa's elves ditch the snow to embark on a two-week TUI holiday

By creative salon

Travel and leisure giant TUI has launched its inaugural Christmas campaign, bringing a touch of magic to the holiday season with a heartwarming and unconventional tale of Santa's elves embarking on a sun-soaked getaway. Partnering with creative agency Leo Burnett, TUI's festive ad is set to captivate audiences during prime-time TV slots on ITV and Channel 4.

TUI's short film unveils the untold story of what happens to Santa's tireless elves after he departs on his Christmas Eve journey. The heartstring-tugging scene features a group of elves bidding emotional farewells to Santa, only to be interrupted by a mischievous elf in a Hawaiian shirt who hits play on a device, unleashing the upbeat sounds of Ricky Martin's 'Livin' La Vida Loca'. The elves' adventure unfolds as they board a TUI flight for a two-week, sun-soaked holiday, blissfully ignoring Santa's calls.

The creative minds at Leo Burnett, along with Rogue Films producing the ad and EssenceMediacom overseeing media planning and buying, have crafted a narrative that expands TUI's appeal. The film introduces a fresh and innovative approach while highlighting TUI's brand promise: 'Live Happy'.

Accompanying the festive film, the elves are set to take over TUI's social channels during the holiday season, sharing 'holiday elfies' from their tropical trip. TUI is also running a competition on social media, offering the chance to win 12 TUI holidays. Additionally, an 'Elfie AR Filter' will be available for users on Instagram and Facebook.

Sara Ali, Director of Brand and Content at TUI UK&I, expressed the brand's excitement about shaking up traditional Christmas themes: "Our first Christmas campaign celebrates the feeling of downing tools and soaking up some much-needed 'me-time.' We are always looking for different ways to engage with our audience as part of our Live Happy promise, so we're very excited to spread some festive cheer this year."

Renowned model-maker Andy Gent from Arch Model Studio, with over 25 years of experience, crafted each of the ten bespoke puppet elves for the campaign. Director Alex Boutell from Rogue Films brought the enchanting shoot to life on the ground.

Chaka Sobhani, Chief Creative Officer at Leo Burnett UK and Global said: "We all know how hard Santa works, but what about all his little helpers? Surely they deserve a well-earned TUI holiday for all their efforts!" Sobhani expressed hopes that the campaign would bring a touch of summer optimism to the winter months.


Campaign title: Happy Holidays

Client: TUI

Advertising agency: Leo Burnett

CCO: Chaka Sobhani

Executive creative director: Mark Elwood

Creative directors: Rob Tenconi, Mark Franklin

Copywriter: Matt Wood

Art director: Tom Loveless

Planners: Aileen Baker, Beth MacKenzie

Business lead: Lauren Martin

Account team: Robert Ellen, Daisy Jackson, Libby Matthews, Selen Demirel, Ruben Forde

Chief production officer: Emily Marr

Agency producer: Dominique Strouthos

Media buying agency: EssenceMediacom

Media planner: Mehr Chughtai

Production company: Rogue

Director: Alex Boutell

Editor: Leo King - Stitch Editing

Producer: Tom Farley

Post-production company: Black Kite Studios

Audio post-production company: Wave Studios

Model maker: Arch Model Studio

Photographer: Rob Tenconi


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