Delivering the Sinterklaas magic
Video Ad Shortform’s campaign breathes new life into the Sinterklaas tradition through a captivating short-form video. Centering on Eva, who dreams of becoming Santa, the ad connects viewers to the festive excitement familiar to children. ingeniously intertwines parents’ perspectives, balancing tradition with modern storytelling. This unique approach in a short video format stands out in holiday advertising, encapsulating the magic of Sinterklaas in a relatable, heartwarming narrative.

Takeaways Video Ad Shortform

Exceptional storytelling in a video ad that encapsulates the magic of the Dutch and Belgian Santa tradition.

Crafted a relatable character and storyline that beautifully captures children’s anticipation of festivities.

Strikes a balance between tradition-oriented advertisement and customer-focused storytelling.

The Sinterklaas tradition, and its significance for retailers

From mid-November till the 5th of December it’s the Sinterklaas period in the Netherlands. Yes, Sinterklaas and not Santa Claus. Sinterklaas, the Dutch and Belgian festive tradition for children centred around giving presents, is actually what Santa Claus originated from. As Dutch migrants brought the celebration of Sinterklaas with them to the US in the 17th century, the Americans felt that they already had too many holidays in October and November. Which is why in the US, Santa Claus and the tradition of giving presents was found to be better suited for Christmas on the 25th of December.

Now that it’s clear that Sinterklaas is similar to Santa Claus in the US, or actually the other way around. The significance of this tradition for retailers in the Netherlands and Belgium becomes apparent. For leading Dutch retailer bol Sinterklaas is one of the biggest moments of the year with parents all around the country buying gifts for their children. And as the store for everyone, it is bol’s mission to show they really understand the Sinterklaas tradition and the parents’ experience of it.

A 1-minute story delivering the Sinterklaas magic to last for months

The Sinterklaas period is for many children (and adults) the most magical period of the year. For some it’s the time of the year they are looking forward to as soon as January rolls around. But how do you encapsulate all this magic and anticipation children experience during Sinterklaas? Bol succeeded in doing so by highlighting a very special way of Eva, in which all this anticipation and excitement for the Sinterklaas period finds its way out into the world, namely the wish to become Sinterklaas herself.

In a 1-minute heartfelt story about Eva’s wish, Bol succeeds at weaving in Sinterklaas traditions throughout the story to add familiar Sinterklaas magic. We see Eva present ar the arrival of Sinterklaas with his steamboat marking the official kick-off of the Sinterklaas period. Furthermore we see Eva decorating her personal wishlist, dressing up as Sinterklaas, and reading Sinterklaas stories. All of them are activities that many children in the Netherlands and Belgium do each year themselves as well.

Eva as Sinterklaas’ helper

Year after year bol puts all its energy towards helping parents to be the best Sinterklaas they can be in November and December. Bol’s HulpSint platform (translates to helping Sinterklaas) contains all sorts of tips and tricks for parents to make the Sinterklaas the most magical time of the year for their children. But bol also helps parents in a way that keeps Sinterklaas easy. The ‘Verlanglijstposter’ (wishlist) with scannable QR codes for every product their children wish for, they can immediately find each product in the webstore.

This year’s Sinterklaas TVC follows Eva as ‘HulpSint’ (Sinterklaas’s little helper) as she decides she wants to become Sinterklaas when face to face with the mythical Sinterklaas herself. We see Eva practicing for everything a great Sinterklaas needs to be good at: waving in a majestic fashion, riding a horse, and even.. having a beard. This all seems to be working out fine, she even put a Sinterklaas hat on her own wishlist, but when trying to plant a gift in the shoe of children across the street she triggers the alarm and is stopped by a policewoman. In that moment she realizes, that is what she wants to become! Luckily it is very easy for Eva to change her wish on the bol ‘Verlanglijstposter’ and just as easy for Sinterklaas (or her parents) to scan the new police hat she asks for.


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