Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I came across this ad for Mercedes Benz shot by Philip Rostron and thought this was the perfect ad to feature this week. Happy Holidays to all and safe travels. Here’s to 2013! May it brings you all things great!

Suzanne: I was surprised you were able to get Santa Claus as the talent for this campaign. So I would assume you are on the nice list?

Does blackmail disqualify me from the nice list? I may have persuaded Mr. Claus to participate in the campaign through, shall we say, unorthodox methods involving a black envelope – the contents of which will remain undisclosed, but, would put Santa on the naughty list.

Suzanne: I was an art buyer for Mercedes and the cost consultants were really tough. How were able to get them to approve talent coming from The North Pole?

Thankfully Mr. Claus was able to take care of his own airfare. We just had to pay for the fuel… 75lbs of oats, 50lbs of apples, and 25lbs of carrots.

Suzanne: Besides having a animal wrangler, did you have to hire a special clean up person?

We were able to convince Santa to spare a couple of elves. It’s a little known fact that elves are equally good with a poop scoop as they are with their tools. It did require some tough negotiating though, seeing as it is their busiest time of year. I didn’t want to pull out the black envelope again in fear of being placed permanently on the naughty list; instead, I bribed him with rum and eggnog and double chocolate chunk cookies.

Suzanne: I see Rudolph was not at the shoot, was this because Santa wanted him to rest for the Big Night since he does guide the sleigh?

I don’t want to ‘claus’ alarm here, but I overheard Donner and Blitzer snickering about Rudolph getting injured while training for the 2013 Reindeer Games. I hear Rudolph takes the games very seriously, almost as seriously as leader of the sleigh. When I approached Santa to inquire about Rudolph’s condition, his publicist, Mrs. Claus, was quick to deny the rumors saying the reindeer still like to laugh and call him names.

Suzanne: Were you surprised that Santa was able to leave the workshop so close to the holidays? Do you think this is because he has all his elves working on all the gifts? I would assume he had to check in with them several times during the shoot?

I’ll simply say, I hope he has a good long distance plan.

Suzanne: Did Santa have special requests for craft services?

Mrs. Claus has him on a strict diet. He has to slim down if he’s going to fit down all of those chimneys. I may have slipped him a cookie or two… Mrs. Claus was busy dispelling the injured Rudolf rumours that had started to take flight.

Suzanne: I see on your website that you have done a lot of award winning ads, do you think this helped you secure such famous talent who doesn’t like to seen out in public?

The black envelope aside, it would be nice to think that my previous work and reputation also played a part in securing Mr. Claus’ appearance. I’m thankful of the creative ideas that are brought in to us from prestigious clients and visionary art directors and I’m as excited as a kid on Christmas morning to be able to actualize these ideas.

Suzanne: I think we should add on the question about Santa being on set with you that he had Hanukkah Harry supervising the elves!

Supposedly, Santa has Hanukkah Harry on elf supervising duties. It wasn’t his first choice, but the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy were both unavailable. I think
the majority of Santa’s phone calls were to check up on Harry rather than the elves. Harry keeps feeding the elves potato pancakes and those delicious deep fried donuts filled with jelly and tossed in icing sugar. It’s having a major effect on productivity, elves aren’t accustomed to all those fats and sugars, you know. I also overheard that Harry is distracting the elves by making them learn the lyrics to Ma’oz Tzur. Santa had to send Mrs. Claus back to the North Pole to relieve Hanukkah Harry and get the elves back on schedule.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Philip Rostron, photographer and digital imager, is one of the leading commercial photographers at the forefront of the industry. Starting his career in his native country, England, Philip soon moved to Canada where he founded the Toronto- based production studio Instil Productions. Through his renowned creativity and backed by a dedicated team of imagers, assistants and producers, Philip and his company have developed a strong reputation across North America and Europe.

Praised for his collaborative approach and problem solving abilities, Philip delivers quality and exciting results that raise the bar for industry standards. With countless awards from Cannes Lions, D&AD Global, Communication Arts, New York Art Director Club, Marketing, London International’s and Clio. Philip’s work has been showcased in Lürzer’s Archive 200 Best photographers Worldwide for the past three years. Some of his clients include: Coca-Cola, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Molson Breweries, Olympus, Rogers, Sony, Tim Horton’s and World Wildlife Fund.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Recommended Posts


  1. That’s the shoot of a lifetime! Enjoyed the interview. :-) Happy Holidays, Everyone.

  2. As always – Philip Rostron’s work demonstrates his extraordinary talent and abilities!

  3. cool image, neat how something so simple can have a huge impression :)

  4. One of the best interviews I´ve read this year. What a great sense of humour!

  5. Thanks so much everyone!! Philip and I had a great time with this one and so glad you were able to enjoy!! Happiest of Holidays to all!

Comments are closed for this article!