Waitrose's 'unglamorous' and unpaid Christmas ad to free up £1m for charity

Waitrose will donate the money it saves from making an "unglamorous" Christmas ad, for which Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal have both waived their appearance fees, to its Community Matters charity scheme.

The supermarket is seeking to stand out from other brands' lavish Christmas ads and claims the cheap ad will make it possible to donate £1m to charity.

The £1m figure is on top of the £600,000 the brand would normally donate to local good causes through the "green token" charity scheme during November and December.

Creative by Bartle Bogle Hegarty includes the strapline "giving more this Christmas" and features the celebrity chefs standing side-by-side in an empty studio with a three-foot high Perspex fixture and some green plastic tokens as props.

In the ad, Heston and Delia explain that Waitrose has decided to donate money to charity instead of making a "fancy TV advert".

Rupert Thomas, marketing director at Waitrose, said: "At what is a difficult time for many people across Britain, we feel that Christmas is the right time to give more back to good causes in the communities we serve.

"There are no snow machines, no festive glitter, just an echoey studio stripped bare of Christmas trimmings. By cutting back on our production costs we can channel an additional £1m to local good causes."

The campaign will debut on YouTube today and on TV tomorrow during 'The X Factor'.

Customers will be able to choose how the money is distributed to 1,700 local charities by putting the green token they are given at the checkout into their choice of box.

Shoppers using Waitrose.com will also be able to help decide where £150,000 of charity money is donated up until February 2013.

Waitrose claims the figure represents an extra £100,000 on top of what it would normally donate on behalf of online shoppers in that period.

Customers shopping in store will also be encouraged to buy an extra grocery item which will be distributed to good causes in the local community via a local foodbank at the entrance of the store.