Meijer’s Vacation Advert Confronts the Method It All Feels ‘Flawed’ This Yr

In a scene that’s no doubt playing out in living rooms around the country, a family puts up its holiday decorations, trying to end the long and tumultuous year with some familiar rituals and splashes of brightness.

But there’s a grinch, in the form of a sulky teenager, in their midst. Along with heavy sighs and eye rolls, she complains it “doesn’t even feel like Christmas” and criticizes her little sister’s tree-decorating skills. “You’re doing it wrong. It’s all wrong,” she says. “They might as well cancel Christmas. They’ve canceled everything else.”

Can these festivities be saved? Watch how Meijer, a Michigan-based grocer and retailer, takes that dark 2020 mood and turns it into a bonding moment between siblings:

The campaign, dubbed “You Better Not Pout,” comes from The Distillery Project, longtime agency of record for the brand, along with filmmaker and commercial veteran Noam Murro. 

The nearly 2-minute piece purposely leaves out product pitches and store imagery in favor of “a Christmas wish for the community,” said John Condon, the indie shop’s founder and chief creative officer. “This spot is about empathy and hope—we’re not at our best when we pout, even though it’s a totally legitimate reaction to everything that’s happened this year.”

Meijer, a family-owned business that operates 256 “super centers” in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin, wanted the seasonal ad to “spark brand connection through customer relevancy and compassion,” said Renee Vought, director, creative and visual merchandising and marketing. It continues the chain’s tagline, “Believe,” and adds an uplifting coda, “Christmas is Coming.”

It has been airing, in its long-form and 60- and 90-second versions, on cable and network TV during tentpole programming like The American Music Awards and The Sound of Music on ABC and NFL games on Fox and NBC. It’s also getting YouTube and paid social media distribution.


Client:  Meijer
Agency: The Distillery Project
Founder/Copywriter: John Condon
Founding Partner/CSO: Ben Kline
Head of Operations/Partner: Kim Tanner
Head of Production/Partner: Nik Traxler
Producer: Brenda Cortés
Creative Director: Chris Pollock
Account Director: Annie Gray
Business Affairs Manager: Bonnie Kalaf

Production: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Noam Murro
Partner/Managing Director: Shawn Lacy
Executive Producer: Andrew Travelstead
Producer: Emily Skinner
Head of Production: Rachel Glaub / Sean Moody
Director of Photography: Eric Schmidt
Production Designer: Brock Houghton

Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Damion Clayton
Assistant Editor: Sebastian Zotoff
Producer: Sasha Grubor
Head of Production: Dre Krichevsky
Executive Producer: Shada Shariatzdeh
Managing Director: Eve Kornblum

Color: a52 Color
Colorist: Daniel de Vue
Producer: Jenny Bright
Exec Producer: Thatcher Peterson

Music Company: JSM Music
CEO/CCO: Joel Simon
VP/Executive Producer: Jeff Fiorello
Producers: Norm Felker/Andrew Manning/Sharon Cha

Audio House: Margarita Mix Santa Monica
Re-Recording Mixer/Sound Designer: Nathan Dubin 
Assistant Engineers: Sean Melia & Mike Murzyn 
Operations Manager: Brian Frank
Executive Producers: Whitney Morris & Paula Arnett

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