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Motion Blurs Harald Zwart Sends Santa to Boot Camp for SKY TV

(February 09, 2004)
Where do all those department store Santas go once the holidays are over? According to a series of spots directed by Motion Blurs Harald Zwart for the Italian cable company SKY TV, they return to Santa boot camp.

Conceived by Milan agency Red Cell, the campaign features a troop of over-the-hill St. Nicks who are put through a series of military style exercises by a tough as nails drill sergeant. The Santas are taught to plow through snow, brave icy waters, ascend narrow chimneys and be nice to bratty 8-year olds. All the while, the sergeant is hurtling abuse into their ears as he molds the sorry recruits into proper Santas and prepares them for ?Pride Day when they take to their sleighs and leave the base to spread Christmas cheer. The end tag explains the connection to SKY TVs expanded television line-up, encouraging viewers to ?get ready to receive more.

Aiming to parody the atmosphere of a U.S. military facility as seen in such films as An Officer and a Gentleman, the agency wanted to shoot the spot in an appropriate U.S. location. Zwart obliged by finding an unused Army base in San Pedro California.


Calling casting key to the spots humor, Zwart chose as Santas men who were more than a little passed their primes as a contrast to the young, virile drill instructor whose nasty streak would have made General Patton quiver. ?My idea was that these guys were Santas who used to be real Santas but now had to be whipped back into shape, said Zwart. ?Some of the Santas who came to the casting call were a bit too fresh, too rosy cheeked, and I didnt want that. I was looking for Santa losers.

Zwart and his cast ad libbed much of the training activities, setting up obstacle courses and weather machines to pelt the Santas with snow. Some of the funniest moments occur inside the barracks where the drill sergeant exhorts his underlings into ho ho hos and rousts them from their bunks at the crack of dawn. The sergeant also leads the troop in a double-paced march while urging them to sing, ?I am sticky, Im in pain, because my cock is a candy cane.

?The agency had a really good idea, a clear concept. recalled Zwart, ?and they let us go crazy with it.

Motion Blur is located at 209 Ashland Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405. For more information, call (310) 452-6880.

Credits
Title: Santa

Length: 30-seconds

Client: SKY-TV

Agency (city): Red Cell, Milan. Pino Rozzi and Roberto Battaglia, creative directors; Marina DAndrea, copywriter; Sergio Copetti, art director.

Production Company: Motion Blur, Santa Monica, CA. Harald Zwart, director; Veslemoey Ruud Zwart, executive producer; Fern Martin, producer; Bill Heath, director of photography; John McColpin, unit production manager.

Mecurio Cinematografica, Milan. Roberta Brambilla, executive producer; Sergio Copetti, producer.

Location: San Pedro, California.

Editing Company: Union Editorial, Santa Monica, CA. Jeff Malmburg, editor.

Post Facility: Company 3, Santa Monica, CA. Mike Pethel, colorist.



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