Christmas Advertising Advertising Standards Authority

Sainsbury's Christmas 'plug kid' sparks health and safety complaints to ad watchdog


By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

November 30, 2018 | 4 min read

The unlikely star of Sainsbury's Christmas ad, a little boy dressed as a huge electrical plug, has prompted dozens of complaints to the advertising watchdog over health and safety fears.

Little boy dressed as plug socket Sainsbury's ad

'Plug boy' won over the nation's hearts by launching himself into a wall socket / Sainsbury's

When Sainsbury's unveiled its school play-themed festive spot earlier this month, 'plug kid' won over the nation's hearts by launching himself into a wall to turn on the lights of a giant Christmas tree. However, The Drum has learned that 35 people have complained to the regulator, some of them citing concerns kids could 'emulate' what they saw in the ad.

The Drum understands the ASA is still assessing the complaints. Sainsbury's did not reply to a request for comment at the time of writing.

The UK grocer's 'The Big Night' campaign brought together 59 children from across the country to perform a real show for their parents. Set to You Get What You Give by The New Radicals, the sweet film tells the story of a little girl dressed as the North Star who overcomes her nerves to deliver an uplifting performance as the stage explodes into action around her.

However, it was 'plug boy' that truly stole the show, with some fans saying his 2-second stunt was better than John Lewis' £7m Elton John-fronted seasonal effort.

Sainsbury's capitalised on the buzz, affectionately terming the Rocketman rival 'Socketman', 'plug kid' and 'plug boy'.

In a behind-the-scenes 'making of' video for Sainsbury's, 10-year-old Harrison who played the plug said: "My costume is the plug, it's really cool - when I saw it I was like 'this is confusing, I'm a plug'."

The debut was Harrison's first foray into TV acting.

The complaints about 'plug kid' follow on from the ASA banning an integration of Aldi's Kevin the Carrot' 2017 campaign in January after one viewer complained it was likely to promote alcohol to children. Poundland's naughty Christmas elf also got the chop from the regulator post-Christmas earlier in 2018.

Christmas Advertising Advertising Standards Authority

More from Christmas

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +