Sainsbury's Christmas ad escapes investigation despite 727 complaints

The Advertising Standards Authority has decided not to investigate the Sainsbury's Christmas ad despite 727 complaints that its depiction of the First World War was distasteful.

Sainsbury's "Christmas is for sharing" spot by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO featured the truce between the opposing trenches during WW1. The ad promotes a chocolate bar Sainsbury's is selling to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

A spokesman for the ASA said: "After careful consideration of the 727 complaints we received about the Sainsbury’s TV Christmas ad, the independent ASA Council has decided that there are not grounds for further investigation."

The spokesman said although the council recognised that some people "found the use of the First World War for advertising purposes to be distasteful", the ad was unlikely to break the rules on "serious harm or offence".

Some of the complainants had questioned whether the three minute 20 second ad, which premiered in a solus break during ITV’s Coronation Street, was clearly labeled as advertising.

However, the ASA Council ruled that the ad is obviously distinguishable from editorial content and therefore is not likely to mislead.

 

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