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Sainsbury’s Christmas ad – friend or foe? Friend.

There was a major breakout of baa humbugs and “who do they think they ares?” when the Sainsbury’s christmas television commercial aired during The X Factor. My daughter, a researcher in the advertising industry was, like the vast majority of us, completely blown away – I mean that in the most positive way – by a fabulous piece of film, that had both heart and  soul. Flummoxed by the bruhaha, she penned a response which I’d like to share with you.

I’d also like to wish you a happy, fun-filled Christmas filled with doing all things you like doing – even if it’s only for a couple of days. Enjoy:

The majority of us have now seen, or at least heard, about the Sainsbury’s Christmas ad for this year that beautifully depicts English and German soldiers during a truce on Christmas day in 1914. The ad tells a tale of an unlikely and brief friendship between opposing soldiers Jim and Otto.

There has been quite a lot of backlash surrounding this ad with some feeling that any company making a profit from such a catastrophic and tragic war is disrespectful and heartless.  If we are to obey this rule, then any film that tells a story set during the war, or any play that features soldiers must also be brought under this same scrutiny. Production companies, actors, directors among many others that have any input when making a film all benefit, are all paid, all make profit from telling stories about the war.

Did you all enjoy the ceramic poppies at Tower Bridge? Did you also know that, while a portion of the proceeds goes to charity partners, a larger portion is being used to cover “costs”. Alongside this a number of investors have refused to deny they are also profiting from the art installation.  That being said, it is a wonderful attraction and a creative way to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of WW1.

The Sainsbury’s ad is, in my opinion, also a piece of art. So, why can’t an advert that encompasses this same beauty and emotion be seen as such?

Yes, Sainsbury’s has raised its brand profile and is likely to benefit from the “feel good factor” but weren’t DreamWorks doing the same? Weren’t they trying to build their brand and encourage people to buy their films when they went ahead and made War Horse? Are the products featured in some of these films not a direct influence for people to buy that particular product from a particular brand? The difference here is that Sainsbury’s is actually trying to help the Royal British Legion (RBL).  The company has been working with the RBL for many years now, has allowed them to fundraise in their stores, so why can’t Sainsbury’s raise the RBL’s profile and help their fundraising in this way? The vintage chocolate bars, which have been made to look as authentic as possible, will be sold in stores with all proceeds going to the RBL.

I think Sainsbury’s has tugged on a lot of heartstrings and, despite those who believe that this is “cashing in” on the war, its most important role is to raise money for the RBL and remind everyone of the sacrifices that were made and the humanity that even the greatest of enemies once showed.

Merlyn Morrison

 

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