Auckland City Mission Great Escape for Christmas Appeal

Auckland City Mission launched its annual Christmas appeal this year with “Great Escape”, a stop motion/live action television commercial in the genre of Small Soldiers (1998) and Toy Story (1995 & 1999).

Toys enter a home in Auckland City  Mission Great Escape TV ad

The 60 second TV ad features “Mission Man” and his colleagues in the toy store escaping on Christmas Eve and, with the help of Auckland residents, finding their way to the homes of children in time for Christmas morning. Click on the image below to play the video.


The campaign was developed by Publicis Mojo, Auckland, by executive creative director Nick Worthington, copywriter Estelle Nollet, art director Loic Cardon, agency producers Julia Ryan and Sacha Loverich.

Filming was directed by Luke Savage at Flying Fish, Auckland, with stop motion animator Derek Thomson, director of photography Duncan Cole and executive producer James Moore and producer John Day.

Luke Savage came to ads through directing music videos for Fish n Clips (the music video arm of Flying Fish). The first clips he directed for The Phoenix Foundation (Damn the River and All in an Afternoon), got noticed about this time last year by a couple of creatives from Weiden + Kennedy in Portland and before he knew it he was shooting a TVC for Procter & Gamble in Tasmania.

Mission Man in Auckland City  Mission Great Escape TV ad

The toys used in the shot were generally cheap imports from China repackaged in new brand-name boxes for the Great Escape. The “Mission Man” action toys belong to Derek Thomson, an animator based in Wellington known for his stop motion music video for The Shot Band, “Songs About Drinkin’ & Dyin'”. See his Dead On Animation site at MySpace. His 3 year goal is to make a 25 minute stop motion zombie short featuring action men. See Suspect Production’s Zombi-mentary website.

Post production was done by Puck Murphy at Perceptual Engineering with some extra work provided by Images Post.

The soundtrack was provided by Justyn Pilbrow at Soundtrax.

Auckland City Mission Christmas Appeal

Diane Robertson, Auckland City Missioner, said “it is easy to blame individuals, to say that we must all take responsibility for our actions, to insist that everyone gains full time employment. The reality is that for many in our community there are extremely limited opportunities for changing their lifestyles. The Auckland City Mission believes that communities need to take responsibility for all their members. That way the whole community wins.”

The Auckland City Mission works with marginalised Aucklanders to find solutions to their problems. Our assistance is practical, with the emphasis on action. Rather than reinforce the cycle of need, we want to enable people to move towards long-term independence. Aucklanders are invited to take part in that process by donating towards clothing and ‘a little Christmas cheer’.