Around the holidays, one item you'll find in a British home is a Quality Street tin, packed with chocolates whose flavors vary by wrapper color. The appearance of the tin—developed in the 1930s, when only the wealthy could afford fancy varietal boxes of chocolates (how they'd turn in their graves now!)—with the first chill wind has become as much a tradition as the tall, three-variety popcorn tin that always appears in your house when the tree goes up.
"The proper start of Christmas is when the Quality Street tub appears. It's as magical as the first snowflake," says J. Walter Thompson London creative director David Masterman.
So what did they do to ensure the brand got its rightful recognition this holiday season? "We made Quality Street a wonderful place where it snows wrappers."
In the ad below, the fabled "Quality Street" is made into a real, charming neighborhood where families stroll tranquilly homeward—that is, until the wrappers begin to fall.
It's hard for us to picture what the normal reaction to a snowfall of 45,000 cellophane wrappers would be, probably because if you drop even one by accident, some enraged human comes after you like an attack dog.
But Quality Street is a different kind of place. Here, people literally stop in their tracks and dance around the snow trying to catch them—empty wrappers!—as though they're something worth taking home (though, like the family that the ad does follow home, they probably have an actual tin full of them already, with actual chocolates inside).
To prep for this holiday experience, Nestlé changed its factory production line for several hours to produce 45,000 empty cellophane wrappers for the set without wasting chocolate. A trio of runners crumpled and flattened them again so they would catch the light in a specifically magical way. Some 300,000 more were added in postproduction.
It all must have made for a very merry Christmas indeed for the street cleaners. But this is a fictional world, so we don't have to worry about them; the colored cellophane probably just evaporates into the surrounding snow, like cotton candy.
Check out the behind-the-scenes below, where director Joanna Bailey exclaims, "There's wrappers falling from the sky! It's a bit mad—it's fun!"
In the event that you yearn for moments like these, an interactive projection and installation will transform London's Covent Garden into a "Quality Street-inspired Christmas wonderland" on Dec. 3. Select movie theaters will also sprinkle real wrappers onto audiences while the ad airs, and a Facebook campaign will push this further still.
This one-minute ad will be cut down to a shorter TV commercial. It will be followed by another that lets viewers dive deep into Quality Street, providing insights on what people's lives there are like.
"Opening Quality Street signals that Christmas is here," says the brand's marketing manager, Rob Brown. "We want to make sure mums and families can create many memorable moments that they will cherish for a long time to come."
Brown might have a different definition than we do of moments worth cherishing. But to test the theory, keep your wrappers around until Christmas day, bring them to the painstakingly decorated home of your host, then fling them majestically upward. Let us know how that goes.