How did this unknown Spanish lottery video win the Christmas advert battle of 2015, giving Mog and Man on the Moon a run for their money?

Dan Best
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Pixar-style animation has won viewers hearts

Move over John Lewis and Sainsbury’s, a new Christmas contender in the festive ad race has emerged. And it has come from the most unlikeliest of places - the Spanish Lottery.

“Justino” is a beautiful animated ad which in a week has overtaken a number of leading British brands to become the third most shared festive ad online (so far).

But what has made it such an online hit? Well, at its heart, “Justino” is well made and a beautiful piece of storytelling which feels like something out of an Xmas fairytale or a scene out of your favourite festive movie.

Named after its kind-hearted protagonist, ‘Justino’ tells of the story of a lonely middle-aged security guard working the night shift at a factory.

Animated in a style redolent of Pixar’s ‘Up’, there’s a certain sad realism to the early moments of ‘Justino’: the alarm beeping at 10pm each night, the commuting strangers lolling asleep on his shoulder, the tedium of working alone. So far, so unlike the kid-focused stories presented by this year’s big hitters.

Read more: Mog vs Man on Moon: The most popular Christmas ads of 2015

It’s revealed that Justino’s factory produces mannequins and for a moment, there’s the potential that this adorable Christmas ad is about to turn to into an episode of The Twilight Zone. But the real outcome is much sweeter, with Justino using his posable pals to play pranks on the day-time inhabitants of the factory.

This culminates in the delighted factory workers stumbling upon a dolled-up Christmas tree entirely composed of mannequins, seemingly unaware that it’s Justino providing their entertainment.

But when the daytime workers suddenly win the famed Christmas lottery, it seems that Justino’s isolation is asserted all over again. The factory workers have entered the lottery without him...or have they?

Without spoiling the ending, you can rest assured that ‘Justino’ has a happy one and fulfils the Christmas ad’s promise of heart-stirring cheer.

In this sense, the Loteria ad is not so dissimilar from its British counterparts, with its primary mode being saccharine sweetness. This is true down to the rousing acoustic piano that plays under the spot; a style that’s been parodied so much here in the United Kingdom.

It’s also very inspiring. A lonely guard finds ways to make his life that little bit less lonely by playing funny tricks on his colleagues.

Read more: There's a new John Lewis Man on the Moon ad

The pranks are amusing and show playfulness without meanness, which is on target for this time of year. However, what really hits home is an ending we all want at this time of year - a happy one that makes you feel good about yourself and good about Xmas.

Put simply, there’s real creative craft to “Justino”. It understands the wonder of Xmas and tells it in a way that combines all the right emotional triggers: warmth, surprise and humour.

Lastly, it’s tempting to say that the real asset of ‘Justino’ is surprise.

Let’s not forget that confronting the unexpected is a huge element of social videos and, in the face of the mammoth launch campaigns put out by John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and other brands, ‘Justino’ feels like something else entirely: a genuine Christmas discovery.

Now pass me the mince pies.

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