Sainsbury’s tells First World War Christmas Day truce story in festive ad

Sainsbury’s Christmas television brand campaign focuses on the “sharing of simple moments and kindness” during the festive season with a campaign that tells the story of the famous Christmas Day truce between British and German soldiers during the First World War.

The ad is set on Christmas Day 1914 and sees a British soldier, Jim, leave his trench to greet the enemy, in particular a German soldier called Otto. Others follow suit and exchange greetings, treats and play a game of football. It concludes when Otto returns to his trench to find Jim has placed a bar of chocolate in his pocket.

The AMV BBDO created ad uses the strapline “Christmas is for sharing”. It does not show the Sainsbury’s brand until the end of the 3 minutes and 20 seconds ad when it is also revealed the ad was made in partnership with The Royal British Legion.

In a statement, Sainsbury’s says the ad aims to “to help raise funds and awareness of The Royal British Legion’s work supporting servicemen and women” in particular this year, which marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of The First World War.

To this end, a chocolate bar using the same packaging featured in the ad will be sold in stores for £1 in the run up to Christmas, with all profits to The Royal British Legion.

The supermarket has a 20-year partnership with the legion and recently launched an ad to coincide with the charity’s annual poppy appeal.

Mark Given, head of brand communications at Sainsbury’s, says: “Christmas is a special time of year when people come together to share simple moments and kindnesses.  This year, we wanted to reflect that theme of sharing in our Christmas campaign through the lens of one of the most extraordinary moments of sharing in modern history…”

Sainsbury’s will be hoping the ad, which will run alongside product and price based spots, will help reverse its fortunes. Yesterday (12 November) it announced a £150m investment in cutting prices amid falling sales and profit.

Watch the story behind the ad

Watch the making of the ad

Hide Comments2 Show Comments
  • Joe 13 Nov 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I’m torn how I feel about advertising of this nature; on one
    hand I think Sainsbury’s are doing a tremendous service in regards to their
    partnership with the Royal British Legion and the support they offer. The cynic
    in me however would argue that Sainsbury’s are using one of history’s’ most poignant (and debatable) moments to ultimately boost sales, which in my opinion is inexcusable.

  • Kate 13 Nov 2014 at 2:04 pm

    I agree Joe. It’s interesting to see the reaction on social media too – lots of mentions of this being ‘better than the John Lewis ad’, rather than discussion of this historical topic.

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