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By Hannah Bowler, Senior reporter

November 2, 2023 | 5 min read

The supermarket chain has debuted its first Christmas campaign from its new agency, Saatchi & Saatchi.

Waitrose is to inject more humor and fun into its advertising in the coming year and has used its Christmas advert as a springboard for this new creative direction.

The spot takes place at a fun, kid-free festive party and has a cameo from Eurovision host Grahame Norton.

It’s the first Christmas campaign to come out of Waitrose and John Lewis’s newly appointed creative agency, Saatchi & Saatchi after the John Lewis partnership ended its contract with Adam&EveDDB.

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The customer director at Waitrose, Nathan Ansell, has been focused on finding ways to make the brand more accessible. Waitrose is looking to meet the business need for shoppers to come into the store more frequently rather than for occasion-based shopping.

To get there, Ansell and Saatchi & Saatchi will be adding a “different dimension” to its branding. “Waitrose has got strong strengths in quality, ethics and sustainability, which we absolutely want to retain, but we just want to bring a slightly different dimension to the brand too – just a bit more humor, to be a bit more unexpected, a bit more fun and modern,” he says.

‘Good Stuff’ campaign

The 90-second hero ad charts several unfortunate moments at a festive party, such as guests arriving early and others getting locked in the bathroom. In each instance, food makes everything better. The creative spotlights several products in its Christmas range while the cast are all dressed in John Lewis products.

“The advert is designed to push against the established norms of Christmas advertising, so there’s no big banquet of food that you very often get in these ads. One of the things customers are telling us is that all the grocery ads blur into one, with that classic banquet.”

The cost of living crisis has also led people to stay home more, so the focus on party food also plays into that consumer insight.

The ad is soundtracked to Depeche Mode’s Just Can’t Get Enough and directed by Autumn De Wilde.

“We just wanted to cut through and be distinctive and have a bit of a twinkle in our eye and have a bit of fun,” adds Ansell

The TV and BVOD placements will be supported by out-of-home and digital out-of-home, along with print, radio, social and digital. MG OMD handled the buying and planning of all channels.

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The Christmas campaign has been spun out of Waitrose’s ‘It’s Time for the Good Stuff’ brand platform, which launched 18 months ago.

Saatchi & Saatchi’s chief creative officer, Franki Goodwin, is behind the campaign. She spoke of the temptation as a new creative team to come into a brand and rip up the rule book, but Waitrose consumer insight showed that its existing brand platform was performing high and not worth tampering with.

“Waitrose is a place where, at Christmas, you kind of upgrade to the good stuff and it signals fun and festivity and is special, so that is what we wanted the ad to feel like,” says Goodwin. “People that love Waitrose really love Waitrose and it’s a place full of good people, good food, good ethics and good quality. We just wanted to make that feel more in your face.”

Brand Strategy Christmas Advert Saatchi & Saatchi

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