Sainsbury’s: Christmas is for sharing

This is an real story of war.

This is a sharing spirt of Christmas.

On No.12, Sainsbury’s has launched it’s new advertisement for 2014 Christmas. Only in two weeks it has been viewed more than 12 million times on Youtube.


The ad retells a story happened on Dec 24, 1914, when opposing British and German soldiers emerged from their trenches, put down their guns and celebrated the holiday together by exchanging gifts and playing football. The commercial shows how war is transformed to a moment of peace, and expressed the core idea of ‘sharing’ as the spirit of Christmas.


From 1914 to 2o14, this year we witness the 100 years anniversary of the First World War. The advert follows the public’s passionate response to the exhibition of thousands of ceramic poppies in the moat of the Tower of London to commemorate 100 years anniversary of WW1.

“This year, we wanted to reflect that theme of sharing in our Christmas campaign through the lens of one of the most extraordinary moments of sharing in modern history ”, said by Mark Given, head of brand communications at Sainsbury’s.

He also stressed, “one hundred years on from the 1914 Christmas truce, the campaign remembers the fallen, while helping to raise vital funds to support the future of living.”

Remember the fallen, help the veteran.

This strategy tackles the question of  how to sell food and drink by using war. Smart enough,  Sainbury’s has decided to donate all profits made from the sale of a £1 chocolate bar that features in the advert to the Royal British Legion, to help improving the living conditions of veterans from war. Sainsbury’s has a long-running relationship with the RBL going back 20 years.

Who has the best Christmas advert: John Lewis or Sainsbury’s?

John Lewis 42% John Lewis
Sainsbury's Christmas advert 58% Sainsbury’s

As Christmas is around the corner, there is war of creative design and fancy storytelling emerging among major corporations.The Guardian had created a poll for public to vote for ‘who has the best advert’, where Sainsbury’s surpasses John Lewis by 58% vs 42%. Which one do you think is better? Why?

Links to John Lewis Penguin Campaign:





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6 Responses to Sainsbury’s: Christmas is for sharing

  1. Jillian says:

    Aloha Lu Zhang! Thanks for sharing! 🙂 Another MCMer wrote a blog on the John Lewis campaign, which I truly thought were amazing. If I had to choose between the two, I would have to choose John Lewis’ campaign for this reason… When I first watched the Sainsbury campaign, I was a little confused and didn’t quite get the purpose of the video. And when I read your statement of, “This was a real story.” I have to say I was still a skeptic. After learning the history and context of the commercial, it made a lot more sense to me. I had an AHA moment and thought this is truly amazing. Because it took a lesson in history for me to truly understand and appreciate the Christmas ad, I would expect that others would have the same reaction as myself.

  2. Corinne says:

    The commercial/ advertisement was very touching. It gave me chills! I have never heard of Sainsbury’s before, but it appears to be very popular in the UK. If I were near one of their locations, I would definitely want to support what they have going on for the holidays. War is typically very polarizing so it wouldn’t make sense for a company to use war to market their products. However, this is probably one of the most non polarizing incidents in the history of war so it was the perfect way to highlight unity and the true spirit of the holidays.

  3. Nazly says:

    Hi Lu Zhang,

    I think Salisbury picked a good storyline to highlight the 100th anniversary of WW1 during this holiday season and took advantage of the holiday season where people are willing to give a bit more for those in need. I think it was well-played and executed and consumers can learn more about history. As a person who was deployed during the holiday season, it brings back memories of the intimate times I share with other International security forces and Afghan forces during the holiday season. War can be an ugly thing but Salisbury does a great job in bringing out the emotional side of War; that it, too, can be a beautiful thing for a brief moment.
    Thanks again.


  4. Ya Zhuo says:

    I agree this is a smart choice for Sainsbury to choose this topic and storyline. Usually people associate war with blood and death, this spot however, is so heart warming and it really touches me. The twist in the storyline created unexpectedness for the storytelling, which is very important to a good story.
    Thanks for sharing this with us!

  5. Xi Kang says:

    Hi Lu,

    Thank you for sharing this great commercial! It feels more like a film than a commercial, which attracts audiences’ attention and leaves deeper impression. Moreover, the storyline of this video is really touching and I think it is a wise choice to pick the 100th anniversary of World War 1 to launch this campaign. I agree that the spirit of Christmas is sharing. Peace is always better than war. This commercial brings this idea to the audiences, and it would definitely bring positive effects to the Sainsbury’s brand.

    Xi Kang

  6. Graham says:

    Wow, great videos! Of the two I think the first one about the soldiers in 1914 was the better ad. They both touched on powerful, emotional themes. The first seemed to be about the love we have (or should have) for the common man and the other was about the love every parent has for their kids. As such, the stronger message (in my view) is the one that is probably needed most in the world – the soldier clip. I think penguins are easily loved (the same can be said of dogs, cats, bears etc) but loving someone from another culture seems to come with greater difficulty. I also think that of the two messages the soldier clip will probably have a stronger impact on the holiday spirit because the soldiers shared what they had while in the other video the parent purchased a toy for the kid. I hadn’t seen either of these ads but I’ll be keeping an eye on Sainsbury now. I’m glad you shared it!