Barbour and Father Christmas
a 10-year relationship
The great collaboration between leading heritage and lifestyle brand, Barbour and popular children's book Father Christmas started in 2011 with a successful Christmas promotion where Father Christmas became the face of the brand in all stores in Europe. It featured branded window displays, POS and carrier bags.
It is only in 2019 that the two brands partnered again for an even bigger activation, capturing the spirit of Christmas through a witty and charming tale entitled 'Thanks Mrs C'.
The short film follows Father Christmas through the decades as he delivers presents with the help of his old faithful Barbour wax jacket which protects him from countless adventures along the way. It brings to life the world of Father Christmas in a sentimental and heart-warming story that celebrates Barbour's 125th anniversary and the longevity of their iconic wax jackets.
Father Christmas became the face of the brand again for the holidays in shop windows and online where customers could enter a competition to win a unique limited-edition Father Christmas x Barbour jacket.
The press campaign and social impressions reached tens of millions and the bespoke short film was viewed 3.6 million times! The activation was even nominated as ‘BEST RETAIL MARKETING INITIATIVE’ at the Licensing Awards 2020.
After the success of the 2019 campaign, Barbour and the Copyrights Group decided to collaborate again for Barbour’s 2020 Christmas campaign featuring Father Christmas. The heart-warming tale focuses on sustainability and why repairing a much-loved item can mean so much…and it’s all based on a true customer story!
The film follows a young boy whose dog has chewed his father’s beloved Barbour wax jacket. The boy writes to Father Christmas to say that he doesn’t want a present this year, he just needs his help to repair his father’s jacket in time for Christmas. Father Christmas realises he can’t mend the jacket himself but has the bright idea of taking it to the Barbour factory…
The film is based on the true story of Dudley the dachshund who chewed his owner’s much adored Barbour jacket. His owner sent it back to Barbour with a note from Dudley to say he was sorry! For almost a hundred years, Barbour has been re-waxing and repairing jackets making them a very sustainable choice.
For the campaign, Barbour created amazing shop windows inspired by ‘Father Christmas to the rescue’ and shared the short film as well as fun assets on their website and on social media. The 2020 collaboration also featured exclusive Father Christmas apparel for women and children. The diverse product range offered sweatshirts, T-shirts as well as a selection of gifts - perfect for the holidays! Customers could also win a limited-edition Father Christmas wax tin to repair their Barbour jacket.
More about the collaboration
Award winning 2D animation studio, Illuminated Films, produced the animation for both films. ‘Thanks Mrs C’ and ‘Father Christmas to the Rescue’ were directed by Dave Unwin, director of the original 1991 animated special, along with Art Director, Loraine Marshall and a number of leading British animators. Working closely with the team at Illuminated Films, Barbour's integrated creative agency, Thinking Juice came up with the narratives of both films and the creative elements of the campaigns.
The agreement was brokered by The Copyrights Group as we have been the licensing agents for Father Christmas for nearly 30 years.
Iain Harvey, producer at Illuminated Films, commented in 2019: 'The vision that Barbour shared with us for this fantastic campaign complements the brand of Raymond Briggs' iconic Father Christmas. The character is part of British heritage for so many families every Christmas and to celebrate 125 years with Barbour is certainly an exciting moment in the character's own timeless history.'