Sainsbury’s is using the actor-comedian John Cleese to poke fun at its
famous ‘celebrity recipe’ advertising in the run-up to Christmas.
The 60-second commercial, which breaks nationally this Sunday, features
Cleese in his own version of the familiar Sainsbury’s format, which
involves nothing more complicated than taking the wrappers off packets.
The spot is in marked contrast to previous Christmas TV ads by the
supermarket chain through Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. Until now,
Sainsbury’s has relied on seasonal versions of the celebrity recipe
idea, using stars such as Ernie Wise, Julie Walters and the late Robert
David Abbott, the agency’s creative director, and Ron Brown, his head of
art partner, devised the original celebrity recipe idea, and produced
the latest film. The ad is aimed at promoting more than 900 ready-to-use
Christmas products that have begun appearing in Sainsbury’s stores.
Cleese is already a familiar face in AMV commercials. He played a
central role in the agency’s anti-smoking campaign for the Health
Education Authority and appeared as Basil Fawlty in the BT ad, ‘it’s one
David Lamb, AMV’s board account director on the business, said: ‘We’ve
never considered Cleese for a real celebrity recipe film, but he’s
perfect for this because he looks like somebody who could never be
bothered in the kitchen.’
Like all of Sainsbury’s previous celebrity films, the latest spot was
directed by John S. Clarke. The three-week campaign will be backed by a
pounds 2.2 million budget.