Sainsbury's Christmas WWI 'truce' ad
Sainsbury's Christmas WWI 'truce' ad
A view from Kate Jones

Integrity and emotion in a bold campaign: Sainsbury's Christmas WWI 'truce' ad

Sainsbury's First World War-themed Christmas campaign is a clear play to win the hearts of the nation. But will the football 'truce' ad win footfall?...

You have to admire Sainsbury’s. All is not rosy in the garden – yet they revealed yesterday, in my opinion, the most beautiful, poignant and perfectly timed ad of the season to date. A clear play to win the hearts of the nation as well as encouraging them to share on Twitter with its sponsored trend, in what could be the most socially driven Christmas ever.

It is the perfect sentiment for this time of year, striking a chord with the British public and setting Twitter alight with praise

The ad tells the tale of the Christmas Day truce 100 years ago in the trenches, a touching and very human story centred around the infamous football match in no man’s land. A young British soldier passes on the chocolate gift from his sweetheart to his German counterpart.

The ad closes with the message ‘Christmas is for Sharing’ and honours what Sainsbury’s calls "one of the most significant moments of sharing in modern history".

Credible alliance

This isn’t just a business capitalising on the centenary commemorations, however, this is a joint venture with the Royal British Legion.

The chocolate bar featured in the advert will be on sale for £1, with all profits going to the charity. Perfect sentiment for this time of year, striking a chord with the British public and setting Twitter alight with praise - but will it be enough to get people into store and relieve them of their seasonal spend?

The stark facts are that Sainsbury’s results out this week are the worst for a decade with pre-tax losses of £290m and a sales slump of 2.1% in the half-year. New store plans and developments have been put on hold as the company prepares itself for battle with the discounters and the forthcoming bloodbath of price cuts, with a reputed £150m war-chest

But it won’t end here. Chief executive Mike Coupe spoke recently about a British grocery market that is undergoing a "once-in-a-generation change"  in both physical and trading structure. Shoppers are not only smarter on price, they are choosing quicker, simpler local stores. This has been acknowledged and addressed by Sainsbury’s openly stating that only 75% of its supermarkets were in the "right locations and are of the right size for our food and non-food offer".

Footfall from football?

The ad might not drive footfall directly, but it will build brand love and strengthen the consumer connection

This is a business that knows it needs to change and intends to do so. The wonderful thing is, that unlike great rival Tesco, Sainsbury’s has done the functional and structural piece as well as thinking about the human aspect.

The ad might not drive footfall directly, but it will build brand love and strengthen the consumer connection – a strategy that could very well pay off in the tough times ahead, especially as Lidl and Aldi are overtly targeting Sainsbury’s middle class customers with their own Christmas campaigns.

A bold, beautiful and stand-out piece of advertising. We all know that Sainsbury’s has good quality products, now we can be sure that they have integrity and emotion too.



Watch next

Watch: Sainsbury's celebrates Christmas Day truce in First World War-themed TV ad



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