Waitrose makes food the star of Christmas in festive ad separate from John Lewis

Waitrose showcases its festive favourites in a humorous campaign starring actress Ashley Jensen, as it parts ways with John Lewis at Christmas to ensure each brand has room to shine.

Waitrose has opted for humour this Christmas in a campaign that showcases its festive food favourites, its first solo Christmas ad after two years joining forces with sister brand John Lewis.

The ‘You Can Taste When It’s a Waitrose Christmas’ campaign features a 60-second hero ad starring actress Ashley Jensen where she is seen carolling, opening presents and hosting a Christmas party, but each time food from Waitrose trumps the festive occasion.

In one scene, she receives a handmade plate from her niece but the gift is upstaged by a plate of salmon blinis, which she calls “the best part of Christmas”. In another, Jensen describes carolling as “pure joy” before tucking into a plate of truffle-infused prosciutto crudo, exclaiming “but this is infused with truffle”.

The ad, which was created by adam&eveDDB, also shows Jensen trying to pass off mince pies made by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s as her own before spotting him in the room.

Waitrose customer director Martin George says: “Food plays such a wonderful role in creating those special moments and we know how incredibly important this Christmas is to so many people after we were unable to have all of our family and friends around us last year.

“We felt the feasting and celebrations deserved the spotlight in this year’s campaign because after all, the best bit of Christmas is the food.”

John Lewis opts for escapism with ‘most merchandised’ Christmas ad  

Separating from John Lewis

For the first time since 2018, Waitrose is not joining forces with sister brand John Lewis for its festive campaign.

On launching its Christmas campaign ‘Unexpected Guest’ at the beginning of November, John Lewis customer director Claire Pointon said the brands did discuss launching a joint ad for the third year in a row but opted against it to achieve “real clarity of thought”.

Pointon said the brands have different goals to achieve, which can be “tricky” to pull off in a time-limited advert. However, the brands will continue to join up through in-store activations, an example being John Lewis supplying the supermarket with wrapping paper and cards.

Last year, Waitrose and John Lewis launched the ‘Give A Little Love’ campaign with the aim to make a “lasting difference” to those most affected by the pandemic, through raising money and awareness for charity partners.

The two brands will also continue to work together in supporting charities Fare Share and Home-Start, which began under Give A Little Love.