Santa’s chief enforcer Vinnie Jones hands in his resignation in World of Tanks’ new film via CUBO

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Christmas spots from elsewhere: Independent global creative agency CUBO has joined forces with leading production house HALAL to create a festive blockbuster like no other – made using a creative process like no other. Every year, Wargaming organises a seasonal takeover by a movie star for its World of Tanks games across PC, mobile, and console. This year, the responsibilities fall to the renowned British football legend and movie star Vinnie Jones. Jones has a key role as an ambassador of the new Holiday Ops game, which will thrill millions of expectant fans around the world.


To reveal Jones’ starring role, HALAL director Andzej Gavriss directed ‘No Going Back’ – a beautifully crafted, sumptuously filmed, five minute opus featuring Jones exuding star quality alongside a hardman Santa, and his gang of misfit elves.

For years, Jones has been working covertly as Santa’s enforcer, dealing with those who have been naughty rather than nice. This year, however, Jones isn’t here to hand out the punishments, but to hand over his resignation to Santa. He is leaving his post to seek a new opportunity: becoming a commander in World of Tanks … but not before he and his crew knock out one last “naughty list.”

Santa’s chief enforcer Vinnie Jones hands in his resignation in World of Tanks’ new film via CUBO

Created to promote World of Tanks’ 2023 Holiday Ops event, the ambitious film is an antidote to unoriginal and saccharine Christmas campaigns. Fittingly, this unconventional campaign was made in an unconventional way, using NYC-founded creative shop CUBO’s agile methodology. The entire campaign was conceived, written and approved in a ‘creative sprint’ that took just five days – with creatives, director, stand-in actors, production and client brainstorming and collaborating throughout. Incredibly, the idea, characters, script, storyboard, director’s treatment, animatic and scenes shot right then and there – plus multiple rounds of consumer testing – were not only achieved in a single week, but the result was a meticulously crafted film on a level with a classic gangster movie.

By fusing deep gaming audience knowledge with film-making craft and aesthetics, CUBO, HALAL and game publisher Wargaming created a festive spectacle that works across multiple markets, platforms and different audiences. The film is targeted at current and potential World of Tanks’ players on PC, mobile and console – amounting to a 200 million+ global niche of gamers.

The multilayered film unapologetically leans into tension and drama on the one hand – but offers belly laughs on the other. Bringing together iconic casting, art direction, production values and cinematography – all steered by a Hollywood-worthy script written by CUBO creative director Henry Scott together with copywriter and playwright Ryan Delehanty, with input from the entire team, including the cast – who were encouraged to improvise additional jokes and lines.

Santa’s chief enforcer Vinnie Jones hands in his resignation in World of Tanks’ new film via CUBO

The campaign is directed by Andzej Gavriss, a rising star from Latvia who is now based in Berlin, and who shot to fame in 2022 after directing ‘We Will Become Better’, also via HALAL, an LGBTQIA+ PSA championing gay rights in Russia, which won two Cannes Lions.  ‘No Going Back’ was filmed during an intense four day shoot, with a huge crew, complex production design – and not to forget 55 tons of temperamental vintage tank. All these moving (or not moving) parts were carefully orchestrated by HALAL’s Head of Production, Job Sanders.

Says Henry Scott, creative director, CUBO: “It’s always a privilege to work with gaming studios. For them, entertainment isn’t a means to an end, it pays the bills. From the start, we didn’t want to make your average festive campaign – we wanted to bring some big characters to the screen and give gamers something they hadn’t seen before.”

Says Pilar Rashad, strategy director at CUBO: “This film breaks many of the conventions of global advertising. For the audience, this is absolutely rewarding viewing but for the team commissioning the work, it is incredibly risky. Projects of this size can spend years in development. A three platform franchise. Multiple markets. Wildly different audiences. To come out after just one week with everybody aligned and confident about producing something totally different from the norm is remarkable. The beauty of our way of working is not that it takes away time – but that it gives us the focus to make a great idea great – without diluting it.”

Says Andre Matarazzo, CCO, CUBO: “It’s great to see such a visceral demonstration of what a sprint can do. We’ve done over a hundred so far, that have had impacts in all sorts of ways. Each time, we fine tune the process to deliver the maximum results from the shortest periods of time. When you sprint you don’t do tissue sessions, you don’t need account managers, multiple creative routes or even an office. A multicultural team, full focus, deep collaboration and constant consumer testing. Those are the drivers of fresh thinking today.”

Says HALAL’s Gijs Determeijer: “Setting aside the challenge of combining Christmas with tanks, we were super excited about working with our first games client – and Wargaming didn’t disappoint. It was refreshing to team up with a creative agency like CUBO right from the start, combining their strategic expertise and our production skills – and truly crafting the film together from storyboard to post. The result is something we are all really proud of – a true cinematic piece of entertainment for the fans of the game! We are super stoked about all the reactions in the comments section.”

Says Christopher Chung, World of Tanks franchise director at Wargaming: “For the first time in history, all products under the World of Tanks franchise worked together from the inception to develop a unified campaign for Holiday Ops, our biggest annual event. It was an inspiring yet demanding challenge, and we are thrilled to have found such talented and extraordinary partners as CUBO and HALAL. Thanks to their efforts, we delivered a unique and entertaining campaign that delighted our players to join us in the celebration. An amazing experience all around!”

Agency: CUBO
Chief Creative Officer: Andre Matarazzo
Creative Director: Henry Scott
Senior copywriter: Ryan Delehanty
Strategy Director: Pilar Rashad
Partner CSO: Flavia Buchmann
Designer: Chris Ansah

Production Company: HALAL
Director: Andzej Gavriss
Executive Producer: Job Sanders
Company Owner: Gijs Determeijer
Producer: Tiwirayi Magwenzi
Designer: Yinchel Fyon Tang
DOP: Ben Fordesman
Edit: David Whittaker, Ella Oliver
VFX: Glassworks
Post producer: James McCubbin
Sound: Paddy Owen
Service Production: Forever

Client: Wargaming
Global Head of Content: Irene Brodko
Global Head of Strategy: Hiro Kozaka Cavalcanti
Business Development: Natallia Asipovich, Victoria Vitushko
Publishing Director, Modern Armor: Alena Terekhova
Creative director: Serge Foris
Head of Creative Media: Alex Morozov
Product manager, World of Tanks PC: Anastasiya Prybylskaya,
Marketing manager: Vitaliy Kolomiyets
Video producer: Vedat Bonfil