Sainsbury's gives the stage to family memories in three-part Christmas campaign

Campaign by Wieden & Kennedy is a departure from the supermarket's previous approach of releasing a single blockbuster film.


Sainsbury’s is launching a trio of nostalgic Christmas ads that celebrate food, family and memory. 

The series, created by Wieden & Kennedy London, is a departure from the supermarket’s previous approach of creating one, big, blockbuster film for the festive season. Each spot focuses on a modern British family and their personal connection to a particular Christmas food. 

The stories come to life through a combination of home-video-style footage and phone calls between family members, in a nod to how many people have been staying in touch with loved ones from a distance during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The first film, “Gravy song”, is a conversation between a father and his daughter as they look forward to the upcoming holiday. They talk about his famous gravy and the special song he made up to accompany it. It will debut this evening (14 November) during ITV’s The Voice.

“Perfect portions”, airing on Monday (16 November), centres on a mother and her son reminiscing about the way Dad used to carve the turkey years ago. Mum puts her own twist on his technique to keep his memory alive. 

The third spot, “Big sarnie”, features two cousins remembering previous Boxing Days spent at their nan’s house. Their fond memories of her massive turkey sandwiches, filled with gravy and stuffing, inspire them to carry on the tradition as adults. It will launch on Thursday (19 November).

Each ad ends with the line: “Food is home. Home is Christmas.” 

Emma Bisley, head of broadcast marketing at Sainsbury’s, said the supermarket took a different approach to its Christmas campaign to reflect the challenges and uncertainty of the year, while maintaining a sense of hope and optimism. 

“We know that Christmas can be a difficult time of year for many of our customers, and we hope the ad represents parts of Christmas that most people will fondly remember, with food at the heart. We hope that we bring a smile to those watching, wherever they may be – and leave them looking forward to Christmas,” she said.

“The biggest challenge this year was creating an ad that brought a smile to viewers' faces, while making sure to be sensitive to the fact that how we spend Christmas is so uncertain this year. It was important for us to focus on family connections and emotions and the power of food, creating a relatable and heartfelt look at the memories Christmas brings, whilst providing a sense of optimism throughout.”

The work was created by Joe Bruce and Albert Pukies, and directed by ThirtyTwo through Pulse Films. PHD is the media agency and Essence oversaw digital media buying.

Besides the films, the campaign will include press, out of home, digital and social media activity. 

In addition to the ad campaign, Sainsbury’s will bring back its “Brighten a million Christmases” initiative, in which it invites customers to donate food, essential products or cash in store or online and will match donations up to £4m. The programme will run from 1 to 14 December.

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