25 days of Ausmas: Anthony Moss, DDB Group Melbourne on Sainsbury’s Christmas Eve Truce

Every day an advertising creative from Australia and New Zealand will offer their own favourite Christmas campaign from over the years as we celebrate the best work from the festive period the world over and hear their views on what is best in class.

The best advertising, whether it is a Christmas spot or not, makes you feel something. It should arouse the senses and stir your emotions. Sainsbury’s Christmas Eve Truce spot from 2014 does just that in a way that is so meticulously crafted in every way.

Firstly, the spot came out exactly 100 years after this true event actually happened during WWI. The truth behind this story is what elevates this spot even more. A brave decision when other brands are animating cute, fluffy animals to tell their Christmas story to appeal to kids and ignite some pester power.

Secondly, it ticks all the boxes for what a Christmas spot should be. Gift giving, selflessness, generosity, sharing, loved ones, new and old relationships and a Christmas meal. In this example, Sainsbury’s skilfully delivered all of these cues in unconventional and unexpected ways, while also creating a new product to sell in store, that starred as an important character in the ad. The blue bar of chocolate. The bar of chocolate retailed at all Sainsbury’s supermarkets for one pound, with all profits (50p) being donated to the Royal British Legion. Of course, this ad was a huge success, with the retailer reportedly selling around 5000 chocolate bars an hour after the ad went to air.

Five years later, the spot has stood the test of time and is still as watchable today as it was the day it first went to air. A rare feat given the pace of change in culture and in CGI technology. I applaud the agency for being brave enough to present and believe in this work and I applaud the client for buying it. It’s not common, especially at Christmas, for a client to feature visuals and audio that directly allude to death, destruction and war.

Telling a Christmas story set in that environment created a film that is much more powerful and watchable. In times of conflict, sadness and great loss, there is still the ability for kindness and sharing to overcome. Even if for a brief moment. Putting into perspective our modern lives and the often trivial challenges that we face on a daily basis. Well done AMV BBDO.

Anthony Moss, executive creative director, DDB Group Melbourne

Check out the latest holiday ads from Australia and New Zealand here, and keep an eye on The Drum's ongoing Christmas coverage.

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