Ikea ads sell Christmas message

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
A young girl writes a letter to the Three Kings, the Spanish equivalent of a letter to Santa. | Screen Capture: YOUTUBE

MADRID (Christian Examiner) -- As the push for products and sales boost holiday consumerism this month, one international retailer is asking parents the unlikely question: "Why do we insist on not giving our children the gifts they really want for Christmas?"

The Swedish-based international retailer Ikea launched a heartwarming Christmas campaign in Spain titled "The Other Christmas (#LaOtraCarta, @LaOtraNatividad).

The moving advertisement created by McCann Madrid features children from ten different families writing letters to the Three Kings -- the Spanish equivalent of Santa -- and eagerly listing the rewards they would like for a year of good behavior.

But it is the second letter in the sentimental two-and-a-half minute video that is warming viewers' hearts, and leading some parents to weigh what kids really want for Christmas.

After handing off their first wish list, the kids are asked to write a note to parents asking mom and dad for a gift too.

"I want you to tickle me," one child said, while another wanted to be read a story. From playing soccer, to eating dinner, each child's request involved nothing more than the gift of their parents presence. "I want us to be together one whole day," one child wrote.

Parents were asked to respond to their child's comments. "Imagine! You want to give them the best you can and the best is yourself!" said one mother.

Another simply stated, "If he's writing it, it's because he needs it, no?"

In the end the children were asked if they could only deliver one letter, which would it be? "A difficult decision," one child said. Ultimately each chose to send the letter to their parents.

Ikea also aired a 60-second spot created by boutique production company Primo Buenos Aires that summarized the sentiment behind "The Other Letter" experiment. In the condensed version, two older women carrying armfuls of shopping bags ask a young boy what he received for Christmas.

When he produces a gingerbread cookie cutter from his pocket, the women pity the child for not having acquired more. Meanwhile he is staring at the small shaped dough cutter, visualizing the memories he made with his family.

Both videos close by selling the idea that Ikea's brand makes a happy home for families to share each others' company.

Gauging the parents' reactions in the first ad, at least 10 families walked away from the commercials with much more than a message about one company's brand image this holiday.