Last year, Casey Neistat celebrated Christmas by getting Samsung to build him a massive drone that could drag him up and down a ski hill, then proceeded to create a holiday video that garnered approximately a bajillion views. In June at Cannes, Samsung displayed the giant drone at its HQ as a badge of honor, a symbol of its new strategy to equip creators with the tools they need and let the results speak for themselves (and, um, market those tools). Now, Neistat and Samsung are back with a similarly ambitious Christmas project, except this time with an admirably charitable bent. Let’s just say it involves the Boys & Girls Club of Milwaukee, a long-abandoned mall, and snowboarding indoors. Onward!
Samsung “Abandoned Mall Turned Into Winter Wonderland!”
What: The latest holiday-themed collaboration between the brand and Casey Neistat.
Who: Samsung, Casey Neistat
Why we care: Once again, Samsung puts its ego aside and lets Neistat and his crew use its products to work their magic. The entire thing was shot on a Galaxy Note8, and you know those kids are Samsung fans for life after that gift give-away. A fun holiday video that doesn’t feel like a Samsung ad, yet still throws a big ol’ halo around the brand.
Spotify “The Ginger Ed Man”
What: Spotify celebrates the holiday season by acknowledging the most popular song of the year.
Who: Spotify, Spotify in-house creative
Why we care: Subtle and effective, while taking advantage of Ed Sheeran’s obvious self-awareness. Even the artist himself can’t stand to listen to “Perfect” anymore.
United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund “Another Silent Night”
What: A social campaign to raise awareness and funds for the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund that uses an adaptation of a classic carol to spotlight a modern crisis.
Who: United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund, VML
Why we care: The strong, resilient young women featured here come from conflict areas ranging from Iraq to Sudan and they illustrate the power of the global community—and that, in the midst of so much wrong in the world, there are still opportunities to do plenty of right.
Help Refugees “The Journey”
What: A short film created by artist, director, and refugee Majid Adin that illustrates the journey of one Syrian family fleeing home.
Who: Help Refugees, artist Majid Adin
Why we care: First and foremost, the film is a lovely human story incredibly told. But the background is just as compelling. The nonprofit Help Refugees first met Adin when he was living in a refugee and migrant center in Calais, France, known as The Jungle. Thanks in part to their support, Adin was able to realize his goals as an artist and won a competition to create the official music video for Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” Now he’s here using his talent to support the organization that helped him out.
Shine On Sierra Leone “Nine Mile Scroll”
What: A website that scrolls for nine miles, representing the average nine-mile walk to school that kids in Sierra Leone have to take every day.
Who: Shine On Sierra Leone, David&Goliath
Why we care: For many kids, the most harrowing part of getting to school is thinking about that impending math quiz. But Shine on Sierra Leone illustrates the many dangers kids in that country face every single day. Thankfully, there are also glimpses of hope, including a new school Shine on Sierra Leone is creating with agency David&Goliath that we see in mile three of the site. Just the idea of scrolling a site for nine miles sounds daunting, effectively juxtaposing one of our most mundane everyday tasks–scrolling sites–with the harsh reality of these school kids.