Winner for November/December 2013
Retailers' Christmas TV ads have become a British institution as each tries to garner headlines, appeal to shoppers, build a social-media buzz and outdo one another on the creative. But Sainsbury's 2013 offering featured a fresh and compelling theme. Sainsbury's and its creative agency, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, hired director Kevin Macdonald to cast a documentary-style eye over Christmas, portraying how real people celebrated the day in a diverse range of households across the nation.
The TV commercial was three-and-a-half minutes, while a longer version could be viewed on YouTube. The ad went from the joyous to the forlorn; among those featured were a family sending a video message to their soldier dad in Afghanistan, only for him to appear in person and be mobbed by the children, and a pensioner presenting his spreadsheet to ensure a perfectly timed Christmas dinner for one.
Mark Given, Sainsbury's head of brand communications, said: "It was something of an experiment - we weren't exactly sure what we'd find, but hoped to reveal something truly new and authentic about the way we celebrate Christmas in Britain. Kevin's film exceeded all our expectations - and, as the reaction showed, is something very special indeed.
"It really resonated with people and helped deliver a record market share for Sainsbury's."
John Lewis' animated tearjerker "Bear and hare", by Adam & Eve/DDB, came in a close second in these Thinkboxes awards, followed by the Christmas-themed "Far from home" ad for Google Nexus 7, by Joint.
To see the full shortlist and to view this winning entry, judged by our 250+ Academy members and showcased in Campaign, go to www.thinkbox.tv/thethinkboxes