Wells Fargo holiday commercial memories
Wells Fargo holiday commercial memories
Inside the Stagecoach
November 25, 2014

Wells Fargo holiday commercial memories

Jamie Moldafsky of Wells Fargo goes behind the scenes of the Wells Fargo holiday commercial which returns for an encore in 2014.

I love the holidays for the focus on sharing and togetherness, and I had such a moment during the all-night shoot filming the scenes with the snowmen, stagecoach and horses as we created “The Stagecoach & The Snowmen” Wells Fargo holiday commercial in 2013.

As the filming progressed and the night wore on, it got colder and colder. To ward off the chill, we huddled next to space heaters and drank hot chocolate. Nearby, the horses nibbled on the carrots, their breath and bells the only sight and sound.

Wells Fargo holiday commercial memories
A snowman lends a hand to a horse pulling the Wells Fargo stagecoach in a scene from the holiday TV commercial.

We shared laughs, oohs and aahs and stories throughout the night. It was a fun and memorable evening — knowing we had come together to create something special that people hopefully would love. The experience became a new addition to my holiday memory bank.

The storyline of our holiday commercial, back for an encore this year after half a million social media shares of the video and rave reviews in 2013, involves the stagecoach team lending a hand to a broken-down mail truck so children in a nearby town would get their presents in time.

Wells Fargo holiday commercial memories
Some of the scenes in the commercial come from a January 2013 brand video and photo shoot in Wyoming.

Along the way, the horses encounter a family of snowmen who, in another act of giving, lend their carrot noses to give the horses strength for finishing their journey. Our first holiday commercial in nearly a decade, the spot renewed a long Wells Fargo tradition of holiday advertising.

Wells Fargo holiday commercial memories
The commercial continues a long tradition of Wells Fargo holiday-themed advertising. This print ad is from 1992.

The commercial reminds me of a famous real-life story of Wells Fargo coming through for its customers. Back in the 1860s, John Valentine, Wells Fargo’s president, was aboard a Wells Fargo stagecoach that got stuck in deep snow near the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Wells Fargo holiday commercial memories
The gift delivery scenes were shot at a Disney movie lot near Los Angeles.

Valentine unloaded and shouldered several mail sacks himself, and trudged miles through snow drifts to make sure they got to Wells Fargo’s customers in the closest town — values he codified in The “Expectations for Employee Conduct and Service” he printed in 1888.

Just like last year, the commercial begins airing on Thanksgiving Day and runs throughout December. That will include an NFL game on Thanksgiving, NBA games on Christmas Day, and other holiday sports, specials, and cooking shows. But there’s also a new Spanish-language version for 2014.

The spot combines action footage of Wells Fargo’s iconic stagecoach from the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming with special-effects snowmen and gift-delivery scenes shot at a movie studio in California.

Wells Fargo holiday commercial memories
This Wells Fargo holiday TV commercial ran in the 1980s.

The stagecoach driver is Robin Wiltshire of Turtle Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming — a veteran horseman with a long line of movie credits and Wells Fargo work — and also features beautiful American quarter horses.

Everyone has something they particularly like about the commercial, and I certainly heard and read a lot of wonderful comments in 2013. From celebrities to our own team members, you told us you loved the themes of giving and working together and the reminder of the big difference small acts of kindness can make.

Of course, many of you also loved the wintry scenes of the Wells Fargo stagecoach and horses, the snowmen, the little boy and his dog, and the joy in the children’s faces.

My favorite moments are the horse taking the first carrot, and the driver tipping his hat to the snowmen.

Enjoy our holiday commercial encore. Something tells me we won’t go another 10 years before the next one

See the Wells Fargo Stories website for more coverage. Note: Due to talent rights, the commercial is no longer available for online viewing since it could only be aired and viewed during both holiday seasons.