Manchester's Christmas Commercial: Come Together at Christmas

The Challenge

Each year Manchester releases a festive animation to celebrate the city as the destination to be at Christmastime, with its world-renowned Christmas markets and festive activities. We were approached to develop 2019’s animation that depicted Manchester as a warm, inclusive and welcoming city to faces old and new. 

Directors Cut
The Solution

We developed a narrative, for the animation, centred on Maya, a little girl new to Manchester, who writes a letter to Santa asking for some friends. The letter magically shoots up the chimney and begins a journey through the city – with Maya in frantic pursuit bumping into a host of people and festive landmarks on her travels, before landing in Santa’s hands. Santa inspects the letter and gestures behind her, to the new friends she’s ended up meeting along the way, who welcome her with open arms. 



Character Designs
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The Solution

MFour had designed campaign artwork, inspired by Scandivanian folk art, that would be showcased around the city and underpin the look and feel of the film. Taking cues from that artwork, we designed and illustrated a host of geometric characters and Manchester-inspired backdrops, that would help tell our festive, heart-warming story. 


We collaborated with sound design studio, Gas Music, who added the final magical touches with a bespoke music track and sound effects.

Initial Storyboard
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The Results

The animation encourages people to visit Manchester and evokes civic pride. The animation is currently being launched across social media and will be shown at the ‘Manchester Christmas Light switch on’. Shortened versions, portrait versions of the animation were shown around the city to help get everyone into the Christmas spirit while doing their Christmas shopping!

Mfour Christmas Animation Process Gif using After Effects Plugins to make girl character chase evelope Animated GIF of After Effects process, using plugins to make girl shocked at Envelope flying up the chimney Mfour Animated Process GIF using after effects plug ins

The team at Flow were a real pleasure to work with, taking our initial brief and transforming it into a warm, emotional narrative that captures the Christmas spirit. Manchester City Council's Christmas animation has become a beloved tradition, and Flow has done a fantastic job of keeping this custom going.

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