“The Santa Stories” – a pair of star-studded short films – will spread even more holiday “Real Magic” this season presented by Coca‑Cola.
Coca‑Cola tapped award-winning Creed II director and screenwriter, Steven Caple Jr. and Universal’s Jurassic World franchise actor and director Bryce Dallas Howard, to bring cinematic quality to the feature films, which showcase the power of embracing the “inner Santa” in all of us through acts of kindness, generosity and goodwill.
“The Note,” directed by Howard, stars Irish actor Colm Meaney as a scrooge-like protagonist whose festive goodwill is restored by a mystery message in a bottle. “Ho Ho Heist,” directed by Caple Jr., stars ACADEMY AWARD™-winning actor Octavia Spencer and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actor and producer Scoot McNairy in a holiday thriller in which Santa lands in jail on Christmas Eve.
Starting Dec. 8, “The Santa Stories” will be available on Prime Video via Prime Video Direct, Amazon Freevee and Coca‑Cola’s YouTube channel.
The anthology is part of Coca‑Cola’s global festive campaign, which also includes a TV commercial, “The World Needs More Santas,” a “Find Your Inner Santa” digital quiz and an AI holiday card generator leveraging iconic Coca‑Cola images. The short films provide a vehicle to amplify the campaign theme while expanding and deepening Coca‑Cola’s storytelling.
The films reflect the core values of the brand and its authentic association with the holidays with reimagined interpretations of Santa Claus. Coca‑Cola is a core but subtle ingredient in both narratives.
“The iconic Coke bottle is part of the narrative, not a product placement,” said Islam ElDessouky, Global Head of Creative Strategy and Content for Coca‑Cola. “If you take the Coke bottle out of the story, there is no story.” “Also, we wanted to take the character of Santa as we know him into different genres, so we built on the classic movie tropes of the heist, set in L.A., with all the drama and intrigue and the classic Christmas fable set on the windswept Irish shores.”
Coca‑Cola, which released its first branded entertainment series last Christmas, intentionally pushed the creative envelope this year.
“We took steps to boost the calibre of who’s in front of and behind the camera, so we sought out talent we knew could bring these stories to life in different ways,” ElDessouky said. “It’s one thing to have Octavia Spencer in a 30-second commercial, but a completely different ballgame to work with her on a short film where she’s in her natural element. She’s playing a character and representing certain values, which is super rich as a brand to tap into.”
The project is the result of a co-creation model that enhances the brand’s storytelling in collaboration with the Hollywood community.
“I’m encouraged by a brand like Coca‑Cola, which carries a lot of cultural weight, putting their energy behind artists, creatives and storytellers and stories that will move people and give us a moment to breathe and remember who we are,” said Howard. “We all want to connect and experience those feelings of love and community, and I felt that profoundly in the collaborative experience.”
Caple Jr. added, “The biggest thing that drew me to this project was the theme of the world needing more Santas and what does Santa represent to us as people, as a society. The idea that we’re trying to tap into generosity, kindness and how much we’re in need of it all over the world, reminds me of me as a kid, caring for other people, love. All of those things are tapped into this one special holiday and pours into the character of Santa Claus.”