Love is messy in Plenty’s ‘Xmess’ Christmas campaign from AMV BBDO & Essity

Plenty, the leading household towel brand, is embracing mess this year with a campaign that bucks the conventions of festive advertising and gives us a story of Christmas love as it really is, mess and all. 

The first work for the brand from Plenty’s new agency, AMV BBDO, the ‘Xmess’ film is set to the track ‘Love Hurts’ by Nazareth, and is directed by award-winning and Emmy-nominated director, Steve Rogers.

All the ingredients of a conventional Christmas ad seem to be there: decorations are up, relatives are gathered, wearing festive jumpers, cooking & cheersing together… 

But it shows us the side we never get to see, yet have all experienced – the messy chaos our loved ones bring. From our baby niece who gives us a milky ‘welcome vom’ to the dog’s surprise wee under the Christmas tree, the spilled gravy, the floored turkey, the mishaps, the awkward encounters, and all the things you can’t unsee. 

The reality is, Christmas with our loved ones is ‘always a mess. But it’s our mess. And there’s no place we’d rather be.’ As the track ‘Love hurts’ suggests, it can test our love to the limit. But the rest of the campaign affirms: ‘Love is stronger than spilled gravy and baby vomit. And so is Plenty’, 

Director Steve Rogers said: “I just felt that Christmas is rarely represented as it really is, and I thought this was a wonderful opportunity to be a little more honest. The odd thing is, that for most of us, despite the madness, we keep going back for more, year after year. It’s a strange and masochistic reflection of our deep familial love.” 

Toby Allen, AMV BBDO Deputy ECD, said: “There’s no such thing as a white Christmas, it’s gravy brown, wine red and dog wee yellow, but you wipe it up and laugh it off. That’s what love is – it’s complex, chaos and messy” 

This campaign not only shows a more honest version of love at Christmas, it sets a new course for the brand and for the entire category.  

Martina Poulopati, Global Marketing & Communications Director for Essity’s household towels business, said: “After decades of spotless kitchens and Truman-show families, it was time to stop demonising mess or celebrating it as if it was lovely. Plenty is the first brand adopting a radical honesty where life with our loved one is depicted the way it really is: messy, occasionally yucky, and sometimes downright revolting. But that’s what real love is: when you invite people into your life, you accept the collateral damage.” 

Nicola Coronado, Plenty UK Marketing Director, said: “We’re taking a fresh point of view on cleaning, and how it intertwines with relationships. This campaign shows that it’s the love we feel for our close ones which enables us to deal with their mess. Love conquers these messy situations, and so does Plenty.”  

The campaign launched yesterday (on 15th November) and runs for six weeks in the UK, Republic of Ireland and France, with executions across TV, VOD, social, press, point of sale, and digital Out-of-Home. It will be supported by a social campaign encouraging people to join in and share their messy #Xmess moments. It will be followed in 2021 with more work that builds upon this new brand platform.


Project: Plenty / Okay: Xmess Campaign

Creative Agency:

Executive Creative Directors: Nicholas Hulley, Nadja Lossgott
Creative Director:
 Toby Allen & Jim Hilson

Copywriter: Dan Warner & Prabhu Wignarajah 

Art Director: Jamie Starbuck & Andy Vasey

Agency Planner: Margaux Revol

Agency Account Team: Sara Abaza, Harry Buggé, Terrance Obeng

Agency Producer: Edwina Dennison

Media Agency: Zenith Media

Media Planners: Anna Shaw, Nicola Gow

Production Company: Somesuch x Revolver

Director: Steve Rogers

DOP: Simon Duggan

Photographer: Derek Henderson

Art Producer: Fiona Bailey

Design & Typography: Max Henderson

Production Co. Producer: Caroline Kruck, Seth Wilson, Lee Groombridge

Post-production Company: Time Based Arts

Business Affairs: Michelle Holmes, Cate Killeen

Audio Post-production: Sam Ashwell @ 750mph

Editor: Rich Orrick, Jamie Hodgson @ Work Editorial

PR (UK): Hannah Craig, Senior Account Director, FINN Comms (UK)

PR (Global): Olivia Sealy, Ketchum (Global)

Essity global:
Martina Poulopati, Global Marketing & Communications Director
Julia Safanova, Global Brand Communication Manager

Essity UK:

Nicola Coronado, Marketing Director UK, Ireland 
Iain Lavelle, Marketing Manager (Plenty Brand)

Leanne McLeod – Brand Manager (Plenty)

Essity France:

Jennifer Diaz, Marketing Manager

Arnaud Montcru, European Marketing Director, Household Towels

Alix Arnaud – Web / Digital Content Manager

Juan Pava, Brand Manager

Source: AMV BBDO

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