Pot Noeldle – AKQA – 12.047

Christmas ads are, by and large, of a type. Family-orientated, often rather schmaltzy, there are rarely many spots that surprise or delight anymore, despite it being the biggest time of year for consumer spending. The arrival in early December of AKQA’s Pot Noeldle spot was therefore a particular cause for celebration, as it cut through all the sparkly dross with its charming animation and witty observations on life in modern Britain.

The ad, directed by Seth Watkins, opens to reveal the Pot Noodle van arriving into a typically urban scene, complete with bored teens attempting a bit of parkour, a man having a pee in the street, and a gang of blinged-up youths loitering outside the local fried chicken store, Chicken Bits.

The van’s arrival is serenaded by choral voices singing “The noodle van is here”, in a reference to Coca-Cola’s Christmas refrain “The holidays are coming”, and as it travels through town, the locals can’t help but drop everything and follow, until a firmly 2010 family Christmas scene is unveiled.

The ad is all in all a most British affair, if perhaps not the image the coalition government would like to promote to the world. Adding to its charm are references to a few of the more bizarre news stories to hit the headlines last year. In its opening scenes, we witness a character place a cat in a bin in a nod to the Coventry woman who sparked outrage last summer, and later on the ‘Peckham Terminator’ makes an appearance, a man who abused customers on a London bus before smashing his way out of the exit doors. Happily these events all seem much more charming when reenacted in claymation.

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