Santa forgets Christmas in new Alzheimer’s ad

Once upon a time, in a town not far away, a little girl named Freya was decorating the tree. But there would be no presents under the tree because in this make-believe land, Santa couldn't deliver them.

"One Christmas, things started to go wrong," her dad explains. "He started to mix up presents and muddle names. He seemed sad, distant and afraid. Year by year, things got steadily worse till finally, he stopped coming altogether."

But Freya didn't want to believe the story ended there, so she sets off to the North Pole. There, she enlists the help of elves to turn their toy-making factory into a research laboratory. "Maybe, if a broken mechanism could be mended, then so could Santa."

Santa swaps out his lustrous red suit for a grey one, but it's not meant to be a scary ghost story. Rather, the tale is part of an advertising campaign for the Alzheimer's Research UK to raise awareness for dementia and encourage support for research. The two-minute commercial is narrated by Emmy award-winning actor Stephen Fry and animated by Aardman Animations, the Oscar award-winning studio behind "Wallace and Gromit" and "Chicken Run," among others.

Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer's Research UK, said to The Independent the purpose of the campaign is to be provocative to "fight misconceptions and fatalism" around dementia.

"Santa is an important cultural figure, but the idea that he too could be affected drives home the point that dementia can strike those most special in our lives," Evans said. "We have made enormous strides against diseases like cancer and AIDS, and with the right research we can do the same for dementia. Santa Forgot reminds us to believe in the power of research."

Topics: Alzheimer's/Dementia