Sainsbury's 150th-anniversary TV spot tells a story through cake

Ad traces workers' support for wider community through history.

Wieden & Kennedy London has mixed together cake, poetry and a 19th-century form of entertainment in a 60-second TV ad celebrating Sainsbury’s 150th year.

"Proudly doing our bit" opens by looking back to husband and wife John James and Mary Ann Sainsbury setting up their first store in London in 1869.

It segues into the present day, showing a tiered cake and decorations being made by Sainsbury’s workers while a female voiceover talks in rhymes such as: "And throughout the years we tried to do good, just doing our bit like the Sainsburys would. Along with the shop the idea grew and grew, thanks to the people who believed in it too."

At the halfway point, the spot switches from black and white to colour, and the completed cake is revealed to be a zoetrope, a 19th-century spinning device that's a predecessor to cinema.

This makes the decorations, which show ways that Sainsbury's and its employees have supported society throughout its history, appear to be moving. Among other things, they reference fundraising for Comic Relief, the company’s pledge to keep open the positions of staff who went to fight in the First World War and its contribution to planting trees in partnership with the Woodland Trust.

The work was created by Florence Deary and Ruby Norman-Curran, with creative directors Dan Norris and Ray Shaughnessy, and directed by Noah Harris through Agile Films.

Norris and Shaughnessy said: "Making Sainsbury’s history come to life via the medium of a zoetrope cake was quite the challenge (massive understatement), but it truly is fitting of such a big birthday. Lucky we had Noah on board; the team couldn’t be prouder of the work."

The spot will make its debut tonight during ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent in a media campaign planned and bought by PHD.

It coincides with the start of 150 Days of Community, a Sainsbury’s initiative that invites staff to volunteer for a cause in their local community.

Laura Boothby, head of broadcast marketing at Sainsbury’s, added: "Community has been at the heart of our business since 1869 and we are delighted to bring to life the achievements and dedication of our colleagues in our 150th campaign."

Daniel Farey-Jones

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