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See What Happens When Santa Gets Hacked In Norton’s Christmas Campaign

Somebody’s getting some coal in their stocking.

It’s Christmas time, which means that the current crop of ads are designed to make us cry as we ponder our mortality, wonder when our partner is going to give us a new car for Christmas, and question which products Santa Claus would endorse (spoiler: all of them!).

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Santa’s endorsement, while not exactly elusive, is nonetheless significant. At the very least, coming up with a clever take on Santa–with the right actor playing the part–can yield solid creative rewards. The new campaign from Norton does a fine job of that, reimagining the Jolly Old Elf as a slightly cranky, technologically inept manager of elves. Here Santa gets a software virus (the Bah Hum-Bug) that steals the Naughty and Nice List, leaving him with a yuletide data recovery nightmare.

The trio of 60-second spots, from agency Grey San Francisco and directed by Jason Headley, also introduce the Expanded Santa Universe–Dougie, a police officer whose time on the naughty list as a kid left him with a grudge; Kris Jr., Santa’s tech-savvy hipster son; and a handful of overworked elves–as they attempt to restore the critical information.

It may not be the freshest concept in the history of holiday advertising, but the writing and performances between Santa and his interactions with foils Dougie and Kris Jr. capture a fun, improvised feel. Antivirus software isn’t exactly the merriest of products, but as these spots prove, you can Christmas anything up if you drop the right Santa into the campaign.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.

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