'Christmas is for sharing', Sainsbury's festive retelling of the famous World War I truce during Christmas 1914, has triumphed at the November/December 2014 Thinkboxes Awards, but the competition was exceptional and it was a close-run thing.
The ad, created by AMV BBDO and developed by Sainsbury's in partnership with The Royal British Legion, shows how Christmas brought the two sides together on neutral territory to share greetings, mementoes and even a game of football.
Running to three minutes in its full-length version, the epic commercial drew heavily on original material for historical accuracy. The resulting work, brilliantly directed by Ringan Ledwidge, edged out the festive offerings from other leading British retailers.
"Two things guided us throughout. We wanted to capture the spirit of the real events, and we knew that we had a responsibility to do that very respectfully," explains Sainsbury's head of brand communications, Mark Given.
"There were extensive discussions with The Royal British Legion all the way through, and we spent a huge amount of time researching the truce ensuring the historical accuracy," he adds. "I think that helped everyone understand more about the real soldiers, which, in turn, helped make the film so emotive."
'Monty the Penguin' from Adam & Eve/DDB scooped second place for John Lewis in the November/December Thinkboxes winners' line up, followed by 'Homecoming' - Mother London's Christmas campaign for Boots.
Mark Given, Sainsbury's
"We wanted to capture the spirit of the real events, and we knew that we had a responsibility to do that very respectfully"
Client: Mark Given, head of brand communications, Sainsbury's
Brief: A creative interpretation of British and German soldiers' truce on Christmas Day 1914
Creative agency: AMV BBDO
Creative team: Tim Riley
Production company: Rattling Stick
Director: Ringan Ledwidge