A nation of defiance: Tesco Xmas ad aims to capture the country's mood once again

Supermarket spot celebrates the UKs spirit of defiance and determination, which it claims will persist no matter what happens this year.

Tesco: the star of the supermarket's Christmas ad is a hardcore granny who is determined to celebrate
Tesco: the star of the supermarket's Christmas ad is a hardcore granny who is determined to celebrate

Tesco offers a Christmas concoction of relatability exaggerated for effect and then sprinkled with some punchy humour in its 2021 Christmas ad – all while showing off its range of festive food. 

The ad, by Bartle Bogle Hegarty London, aims to celebrate what it believes is the nation’s spirit of joyful defiance and determination. 

Alessandra Bellini, chief customer officer at Tesco, said: “We know that Christmas is a hugely important time for many of our customers and, after last year’s events, that is truer now than ever.

“This got us thinking about all the little things that have the potential to get in our way – from running out of mince pies to running late to a Christmas party – and the nation’s determined spirit that ensures we’ll overcome them all.”

The star of this year’s campaign is a hardcore granny who is determined to make it back home from the shops.

“For us, she embodies the ‘defiance’ idea,” Kevin Masters, creative director at BBH London, said. “Last Christmas, she was hiding away from shopping. She probably hated it, as she didn’t want to be fussed over. This year, she’s out and about on a scooter.”

Joining the hardcore granny in the ad's relatable Covid references is a planeload of holidaymakers struggling to take off as travel goes from red to green, Santa's Covid passport and a leek-nosed snowman, thanks to food shortages.

Sticking with the theme, the ad is backed by the rousing soundtrack of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now.

The was developed by creative directors Masters and Christine Turner, and directed by Si & Ad through Academy.

Karen Martin, chief executive of BBH London, said: “It’s all about determination. Whatever the next eight weeks are going to throw at us, Tesco’s message is: ‘We’ve got you'.”

Martin said agencies need to be in tune with the nation and listen to what customers are saying, thinking and feeling when creating Christmas ads, and then give them something they will enjoy.

In last year's spot for the supermarket, BBH and Tesco threw out Santa’s naughty list, encouraging people to indulge and have fun at the end of a tough year.

Christine Turner, creative director at BBH, said: “It’s not a continuation [of the 2020 ad], but we wanted to capture the mood of the nation. Even if there is a lockdown, Christmas is not going to get between us.”

Masters adds: “Last year was a benchmark. We wanted to carry that on and see if we could improve it. Tesco is at its best when you feel like – they just get me. That had to flow through.”

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