Santa’s Elves Are ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ in Holiday Travel Ad

Santa’s Elves Are ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ in Holiday Travel Ad

Elves certainly don’t belong on shelves in the first Christmas ad from global travel brand TUI.

In a bid to reach travelers before the New Year vacation booking frenzy, the advertiser has unveiled a high-energy spot that shows what really happens when Santa Claus flies off to deliver presents on Christmas Eve.

The hero ad from Leo Burnett London will run across major markets in Europe throughout December, including the U.K. and Germany.

It shows a group of elves bidding Father Christmas an emotional farewell. However, as he disappears from view, so does their melancholy—because now it’s time for Santa’s little helpers to kick back and let the good times roll after months of hard work.

An elf in a Hawaiian shirt hits play on Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” on a tiny stereo. The festive crew then board a TUI flight and jet off for an indulgent two-week, sun-soaked group holiday.

Toby Horry, global brand and content director at TUI, said the campaign’s aim is to capture holidaymakers before the peak “turn of the year” season, building on the brand’s positioning as helping people “Live Happy” and enjoy a breadth of travel experiences.

“I’m a believer of the role a strong brand can play. This is all about building brand metrics in advance of that really busy period,” he told Adweek.

A ‘creative gift’

In 2021, TUI rebranded and refreshed its marketing in partnership with Leo Burnett London for a post-pandemic world, cementing the brand’s purpose as one that could help people create moments and memories to last a lifetime.

This campaign has boosted the company’s bottom line, helping it buck the trend in an industry still recovering from the Covid-19 pause. In Q3 of 2023, owner TUI Group reported its first profit since 2020, with an underlying EBIT of $185 million, recovering from a loss of $30 million the prior year.

Chaka Sobhani, chief creative officer at Leo Burnett London, described the festive season as a “creative gift” for TUI, and an opportunity to build on its repositioning.

“We all know that Christmas is the U.K’s version of the Super Bowl, and it’s incredibly important across all of Europe,” said Sobhani.

“TUI didn’t want to just jump on the Christmas bandwagon,” she added. “They wanted to entertain audiences and make them feel good. They gave us a huge amount of freedom, and we’ve put a Christmas filter on the ‘Live Happy’ platform.”