The Making of Krampus—Everyone’s Favorite Holiday Goat Monster

Dec 18, 2013


When Krampus first called Curiosity, he was just your average European holiday goat monster that beat the daylights out of naughty children for a living. He needed a new image, a new message, clothes, dental work, rebirthing therapy—look, he needed a lot, OK? In the end, a few of us agreed to help him out and he promised not to hit us with chains and drag us to purgatory in his washtub. After a couple of months of intense rebranding he’s, uh, well… he’s still a European holiday goat monster. But we picked the leaves out of his fur, gave him an ammonia bath, created a stop-motion animation video and filmed him while he shared all of his holiday tips and tricks for Internet strangers. In other words, we did the best we could.

Krampus has a history at Curiosity that’s almost as long as the agency itself. It began as a holiday radio concept pitched to a client last September. The client didn’t bite. We can only assume it was because the idea was too sexy. But we didn’t want Krampus to die on the presentation floor—after all, he had a story to tell, hearts to warm and minds to change. But most of all, we wanted a challenge. How could we make the most unlovable, wretched beast who was only famous for hitting kids with chains a lovable, mainstream holiday figure? It was settled: We would rebrand Krampus and make him The World’s Most Famous Holiday Goat Monster©. A small team assembled and dedicated a few months to creating his new, family-friendly image. We decided honesty and transparency are always the best policies, therefore, Krampus was to invite the audience into his home and show them how he celebrates the holidays with a series of video tutorials.

We wrote scripts, we storyboarded and we even learned how to build a miniature set and create clay figures to make a stop-motion video as a nod to the old Rudolph special. My boss would like me to go into more detail about the animation part of the project—the storyboarding, lighting, building, the long hours and the painstakingly slow process—but I’d just rather forget that part ever happened. Anyway, the team spent hours freezing and filming in a barn, in a field and in the woods, combing through hours of footage, and then we created a website that Krampus could call home.

In the end, what really mattered was that we treated Krampus as if he were a real client—we took him seriously, worked tirelessly—and it paid off. I mean, it paid off in the sense that he didn’t beat us unconscious and leave us on the side of the highway.

To see the videos, click here: