Sainsbury's Christmas ad celebrates 'ordinary' life with feature-length doc

Sainsbury's has collaborated with Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald to create a campaign showing footage of real Christmas celebrations across the UK, in the style of the director's much-lauded 2011 YouTube film 'Life in a Day'.

A three-minute and 30-second-long preview of the documentary film, called 'Christmas in a Day', will air tonight during a 'Coronation Street' ad break on ITV. Additional 60- and 40-second spots will run leading up to 21 December.

Mark Given, Sainsbury’s head of brand communications, said the supermarket had been working on the film for the last 14 months.

He added that the brand had invested roughly the same on this Christmas campaign as last year’s seasonal marketing, despite hiring 'The Last King of Scotland' and 'Touching the Void' director Macdonald.

The film was created from more than 360 hours of festive footage submitted by people from all over the UK and will launch on YouTube after being premiered at BAFTA on 28 November, as Sainsbury’s seeks to put digital at the heart of its campaign.

It aims to "paint a picture of the diversity of human life" and to show that Sainsbury’s "really understands what Christmas is like" for its customers, according to Given.

The activity will be accompanied by a #Christmasinaday hasthtag to drive social media buzz, while Given said the supermarket will emphasise its grocery roots with a parallel campaign supporting its food offering.

The campaign was created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, while the film was produced by Ridley Scott Associates and Scott Free London.

Kevin Macdonald said: "When we made 'Life in a Day', we asked people around the globe to record their lives on a single ordinary day. When we were cutting that film, we talked about what it might be like if we chose a day that already had significance to people.

"The result is 'Christmas in a Day'. Christmas is the one time in the whole year when ordinary British life is suspended. I feel that the finished film stands out for many reasons – it is funny, moving, often beautifully shot and above all, truthful."

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