Some Christmas movies find an everlasting audience on TV and are enjoyed by generation after generation. 2003's Elf is one of them, and this year Asda has harnessed that appeal in a very clever way.
In its seasonal ad, the Christmas-loving character Buddy the Elf, played by Will Ferrell, is confirmed as Asda's newest seasonal recruit. It opens with a loving homage to the movie's memorable ‘street crossing' scene, only with a train of Asda shopping trolleys rather than a New York City cab, causing Buddy to exclaim “sorry!” as it crashes into him. This marks the beginning of a chaotic sequence of events, which sees Buddy marvel at Asda's selection of Christmas goodies, eat all the maple-pigs-in-blankets samples, distract colleagues with his Christmas plans, and sing loudly over the store Tannoy.
If you didn't know who Will Ferrell was (and how old he now is), you'd assume Will Ferrell had acted for the ad itself. Instead, it uses original footage from the film, but in a way that you truly can't see the join. Created by Havas London and directed by Danny Kleinman through Rattling Stick, it was all put together via state-of-the-art VFX created by Framestore.
Having skilfully rotoscoped Buddy out of the original film, the team helped fit an entirely new world around him that was faithful down to the last eye line, shadow and cast interaction. Intricate match grading then provided the final touches, bringing our modern world closer to the look, feel and spirit of the original film.