Fuzzy Feelings: Apple's stop motion festive spot offers a whole lot of heart

Whilst most big brands have put products front and centre in their festive ads this year, Apple has gone for our hearts. Its Christmas spot, set to George Harrison's 'Isn't It a Pity' and with tender animation by Anna Mantzaris, hits just the right note for 2023.

Kindness is always abundant around Christmas, but why does it feel especially important right now? Could it be that the last 12 months have felt the heaviest yet? Quite possibly. It's why Apple stands out as the winner of this year's festive advertising push.

Titled 'Fuzzy Feelings', the four-minute short tells of a young woman with a grumpy boss that's really getting to her. To cope with her miserable predicament, she makes a stop-motion film on her iPhone that features her manager as the star – one she subjects to a series of unfortunate incidents. He loses his coat and trousers in a gust of wind. Falls into an icy cold river. Electrifies himself by putting up Christmas lights. With each day that passes, our protagonist's treatment of her puppet only seems to get worse.

Until one day, her boss gives her a festive gift. And she starts to see him in a fresh light. On passing a busy restaurant that same evening, she spots her manager dining alone. Returning to her home studio, she stares at the little character, who stares right back and decides to do something kind instead. She crafts a little dog from a thread of the socks her boss gifted her and introduced the puppy to him. We see the animation play out a happy ending, one that is mirrored in real life. "Creativity has the power to change the way we see each other and the world," says Apple in its description. "Sometimes, seeing things through a new lens can make all the difference. You make the holidays."

Set to George Harrison's Isn't It a Pity, we feel it's the true festive winner in this year's roundup. (You can watch all the other Christmas ads here.

The animation part of the ad was created by Swedish animation director and filmmaker Anna Mantzaris, working alongside TBWA\Media Arts Lab, and produced by Passion Pictures. The film aspect was produced by Hungry Lab and director Lucia Aniello.

The fuzzy and soft-rounded characters are typical of Anna's work, which often takes a humorous look at people and the world around us.

Speaking of her process for Fuzzy Feelings, Anna said: "I feel like stop motion is like my language. For me, that gives me a lot of freedom of how I can tell a story." Amazingly, it was all shot using Apple products, including an iPhone 15 Pro Max, which was also a first for Anna: "It's been really interesting to see what it could do. I was actually happily surprised that it could shoot in 48 megapixels and it would shoot raw files. It's important to have because you want to capture all of the details of the sets. It's cool that it's possible on your phone."

Anna hopes the story sparks something in others to create: "I really hope people see our characters and our story and that they also get inspired to try things out for themselves."


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