Pret tells alternative Christmas story to help break cycle of homelessness

Pret’s ‘Opening doors’ campaign tells the story of its apprenticeship scheme, which offers support, training and jobs to people affected by homelessness.

Pret A Manger is taking an alternative approach to Christmas marketing as it eschews a big budget TV ad and focus on gifting to instead tell the story of its apprenticeship scheme, which provides training and real jobs for the homeless.

The campaign, called ‘Opening doors’, marks the first time the high street food chain has invited a filmmaker to document the scheme. Director Matthew Barton was given access to the programme for a year to document the stories of some of its participants.

These stories include Jay Tarrant, who graduated from the programme in 2009 and is now a chef at London’s Landmark Hotel. The video also follows Mark and Sabina as they go from trial shifts in a Pret shop towards graduation and permanent roles.

Julia Monro, Pret’s head of customer communications, tells Marketing Week that the film was initially intended for internal purposes – to show Pret’s employees how the scheme works. But that as it took shape the firm wanted to share the story with customers too.

“Ultimately, we want to say thank you to our customers for their support by showing how the scheme is opening doors for hundreds of people. We would of course be delighted if the campaign inspires other companies to set up similar programmes,” explains Monro.

READ MORE: Pret A Manger’s marketing boss on succeeding without advertising

The five minute video will appear on Pret’s Facebook page and website. Pret is also promoting the scheme in its stores through tent cards, ceiling hangs, windows posters and its paper bags, which will show a festive reef decoration made from herbs, vegetables and berries alongside the message: ‘Helping the homeless to help themselves’.

The creative goes on to thank and explain how customers’ donations have helped Pret support and train more than 350 apprentices. Fifty pence from every Christmas sandwich Pret sells and 10p from every soup sold throughout the year, as well as the donation boxes in store, all go towards the Pret Foundation Trust, which helps fund the scheme, as well as the Pret Charity Run, which donates surplus food from its shops and to offer support to grassroots charities.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here