Sainsbury's travels back to Victorian London to tell myth about Santa

Ad is part of supermarket's 150th-anniversary celebrations.


Sainsbury’s tells Santa’s origin story in a Dickensian ad celebrating the supermarket’s 150th anniversary.

Created by Wieden & Kennedy London, the mythical film imagines the first Sainsbury’s shop in Victorian London in 1869, with John James and Mary Ann Sainsbury showing off their wares. A young chimney sweep called Nick is wrongly accused by his evil workmaster of stealing a clementine from the store and is banished from the city. 

But Mary Ann realises Nick is innocent and rescues him from the cold, giving him his own sack of clementines. The boy shows his gratitude with his own act of kindness, dropping the fruit into the socks of his chimney sweep friends and bringing Christmas magic to the local children. 

It ends with the tagline "Making Christmas Christmas since 1869" and is part of Sainsbury’s 150th-anniversary marketing. The TV spot will debut tonight (Tuesday) during ITV’s Emmerdale at 7:15pm and will be accompanied by radio, print, digital, social media and outdoor activity. 

The work was created by Tom Bender and Tom Corcoran (the creative team behind Nike’s "Nothing beats a Londoner"), Tomas Coleman and Mat Kramer, and directed by Ninian Doff through Pulse Films. PHD is the media agency. Young actor Chris Dunkley plays Nick. 

Laura Boothby, head of broadcast marketing at Sainsbury’s, said: "It’s been a special year for Sainsbury’s and we felt it was fitting for our Christmas advert to look back and celebrate the role we’ve played in making Christmas Christmas for the nation for the past 150 years. We’ve always helped to bring a bit of sparkle to everyone’s Christmas, be it through the delicious turkey, Brussels sprouts or even exotic clementines."