Sainsbury’s has become one of the most talked about brands of the festive period for featuring a black family in its Christmas ad. That shouldn’t be controversial, but after a wave of racist backlash on social media, the campaign prompted a first-of-its-kind commercial initiative in which Channel 4 and most of the UK’s major supermarkets took over two primetime ad breaks to make a stand against racism.
Whether Sainsbury’s intended this huge reaction or not, it suggests advertisers are finally at a turning point in representing a diverse Britain – something they have long failed to do.
But I’m picking this campaign for a different reason: this is a simple, emotional and artfully made film about a family still finding a way to connect despite being apart during the festive season – and that is an experience many of us will relate to this year.
The memory the characters share is deeply personal – but those are the best kinds of stories, because they remind us of universal truths. How beautiful to discover that personal connection through a family who looks different from mine – and in many ways is exactly the same.
Client Emma Bisley, head of broadcast marketing
Agency Wieden & Kennedy London
Creatives Joe Bruce, Albert Pukies
Production company Pulse Films