Sainsbury’s gets all it wanted for Christmas – a festive extension of 2017’s ‘Living Well’

No internet-breaking blockbuster from Sainsbury’s this Christmas – its TVC is an extension of the black-and-white, musical ‘Living Well’ campaign that launched in January, albeit a longer spot featuring cameos from Kermit the Frog and Ricky Tomlinson. It’s exactly what its agency, Wieden+Kennedy London, was asked to do – devise year-round, big-impact marketing that’s not just for Christmas.

By all accounts, the ad entitled ‘Every Bit of Christmas’ is a deliberate step away from the supermarket’s Christmas specials, which include 1914, Mog’s Christmas Calamity and last year’s animation The Greatest Gift. Wieden+Kennedy has created an altogether more human ad, street-casting a diverse range of Brits and Sainsbury’s colleagues to sing an original festive composition penned by comedian Doc Brown.

Two surprise cameos come from Kermit the Frog and The Royle Family’s Ricky Tomlinson, however the two get less screen time than sisters from Cardiff singing about Brussels sprouts. They’re joined in song by blokes in a pub, girls in a taxi and children staging the Nativity, who reel off lyrics regarding pigs in blankets, novelty socks and not being able to find the end of the Sellotape when wrapping presents.

In its Christmas PR messaging, Sainsbury’s is reiterating how the ad stays true to its year-round creative platform, Living Well. The black-and-white footage, musical focus and casting of ‘real people’ emphasise its continual celebration of ‘the ways that the nation lives well and the joy of food’ within a Christmas context.

It’s exactly what Wieden+Kennedy was tasked with when gifted the account in 2016: develop a creative strategy that would pull customers into Sainsbury’s all year round, not just during the festive season.

"We've been really astounded by how successful [the year-long] advertising campaign has been over the course of the year," said Laura Boothby, head of broadcast communications at Sainsbury’s. "People ... really recognise that it's a Sainsbury's ad and that's actually really powerful when you think about how many different ads are out there. We didn't want to throw that away when it came to Christmas."

Directed by We Are From L.A, the French directing duo behind Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’, the film has cleverly been designed with rearrangement in mind. Boothby explained that if any particular ‘characters’ capture the public’s attention after release, the brand can quickly turn around new edits featuring these favourites. At present, Sainbury’s has 25 pieces of ‘Every Bit Of Christmas’ creative banked.

“Living well has been at the heart of our advertising all year and there is no better time to celebrate that than at Christmas,” said Boothby. “There are so many rituals and moments that makes each person’s Christmas special and we wanted to feature as many of these as possible – and all set to a catchy festive tune.”

The campaign launches tonight (12 November) with a 90-second spot during The X Factor on ITV. It will be shared simultaneously across the retailer’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat accounts. Supporting content will run across print, social media, audio, digital display and outdoor advertising.

Media is being handled by PHD, and digital by Analog Folk and Gravity Road.

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