Animation used in advertising has allowed companies to create a magical environment to associate their firm with. The use of animation in Christmas campaigns has become increasingly popular over the past few years, with firms spending up to 5 Million on advertising. The success of a Christmas marketing campaign can have a huge effect on the sales of the company, depending on how popular the campaign is.

“The tone of the message should support the topic, the desired response, and the target audience” (Jones, Bartlett, 2010: 245). The strategy of a campaign should consider the target audience and the desired response. Additionally, it is important to consider the tonality of the message, which could vary for different age groups.

A crucial concept for ‘The Land of make believe’, was to consider the major consumer at Harrods, which was families. The intention behind the campaign was to enable the audience to connect to their inner youth, and to capture Harrods during the festive season. This concept was utilised through the aesthetics of the animation.

“The tone of the message is how you use the aesthetic elements-imagery, lighting, and sound-to provide an atmosphere that reinforces the message appeal” (Jones, Bartlett, 2010: 245)

The aesthetics played a key role in attracting the desired consumer, in which Harrods case was a range of ages. The playful theme of a storybook was a successful way of creating a mutual interest between ages, additionally enabling us to connect with our inner child. This concept was reflected throughout the animation from the beginning where we enter a book, and additionally throughout the animation where we are taken into a world of illustrated 2D sets. Furthermore adding to the notion of the audience entering a storybook.

In my opinion, I believe the campaign has a similar theme of E.T.A Hoffman’s 1816 tale ‘The Nutcracker’, which has become an iconic association with the Christmas season. The Nutcracker is an iconic story that appeals to both child and adult, and has become a holiday tradition nationwide. “The story contains elements similar to the story of the Nativity, triumph of good, acceptance and goodwill” (D’Costa, Krystal, 2010). These key themes are found in popular Christmas stories, which additionally have roots in religion. These key ideas are symbolised through Santa Clause, who is a universal symbol of Christmas. Similarly in the ‘Land of make believe’ Santa plays a key role in providing a resolution to the tiny mouse’s problem. The use of the mice, Santa, and the connotations that they hold all enhance the theme of a traditional Christmas.

The Nutcracker King, illustration by Maurice Sendak

”Characters and stories could even become associated with your brand and help to enhance brand image” (Warren, 2014). According to evidence there are certain values which animation can bring to advertising, for example “creating a distinct identity or personality for a brand” (Shrimp, 2010). Peter Pumpernickel was a key example of creating a desirable character that became associated with Harrods as a brand. The character was used throughout Harrods, designed as toys, patterned materials and was used in iconic window displays in 2014. When considering the visual aesthetics of the characters, we can see that the colour red and green not only symbolise traditional Christmas colours, they also symbolise Harrods iconic green brand identity.

Peter Pumpernickel

Peter Pumpernickel’s character returned in Harrods 2015 Christmas advert ‘ One upon a Christmas’ created by Marcus Reed. This is an example of Transformational advertising, which is a form of advertising that aims to relate an emotional experience to a product or service. Furthermore, over time the connection between the advertisement and brand becomes so strong, that consumers automatically connect the two together.

Once Upon a Christmas, Marcus Reed

The use of a clear narrative structure throughout the ‘Land of Make Believe’, enables the audience to make an emotional connection with Peter Pumpernickel. There is a clear set up at the beginning when we witness the mice sorting presents. We are then followed with the confrontation of Peter Pumpernickel being too small to help. Furthermore, Santa clause provides us with a resolution when he finds Peter Pumpernickel a job of his own. The use of close up shots of peter enhances the emotion in the story. Specifically in the shot of Peter crying, we are given a high camera angle, which makes Peter look more vulnerable. In addition to this, the music that is used creates a magical ambience, which enhances emotional engagement from the audience.

What drew me to Dan’s work specifically was his attention to detail and ability to make an inanimate object come to life. Visiting Dan’s studio in Margate, was an unforgettable experience, I was able to hear about the whole process of creating an animation like ‘The land of Make Believe’. From the story telling process, conception, scripting, storyboarding, model making to animation.

Researching ‘The land of make believe’, has emphasized the extensive research that goes into making an animation for advertising. It has also clarified that characters and storylines that evoke an emotional response are the most memorable. Which is proven by the evident success and growing competition of todays Christmas campaigns.

“Animation allows the creative team to devise scripts that push the boundaries of their audience’s imagination” (Burtenshaw, Mahon, Barfoot, 2011, 24)


References (Presentation & Blog Post) 

Animation World Network. (2017). A+C Studios Enters ‘Land of Make Believe’ for Harrods. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Oct. 2017].

Davidi, A. (2017). 10 industry pros reveal their favourite Christmas ads. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 20 Oct. 2017].

Medium. (2017). In the advertising world, Christmas is over and it’s basically New Year’s Eve. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Oct. 2017].

Priebe, K. (2011). The advanced art of stop-motion animation. Boston, MA: Course Technology Cengage Learining.

Belch, G. and Belch, M. (2002). Evaluating The Effectiveness of Elements of Integrated Marketing Communications: A Review of Research. Ph.D. San Diego State University.

Shimp, T. (2010). Integrated marketing communications in advertising and promotion. United States: South-Western/Cengage Learning, pp.223-225.

Frolova, S. (2014). The role of advertising in promoting a product. Ph.D. Centria University of Applied Sciences.

Essay UK, Essay: Animation in advertising. Available from: <> [22-10-17].

Burtenshaw, K., Mahon, N. and Barfoot, C. (2011). The fundamentals of creative advertising. 2nd ed. Lausanne, Switzerland: AVA Publishing SA. (2014). Achieve Effective B2B Marketing with Whiteboard Animation. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].

Blamires, D. (2014). Telling Tales. Cambridge: Open Book Publishers.

Purves, B. (2010). Basics animation. Lausanne, Suiza: AVA Publishing.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.
Skip to toolbar