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Let the Battle of the best Christmas Ad 2014 Commence!

The countdown to Christmas is well and truly here and that can mean only one thing: the crown for best Christmas ad is up for grabs and so far 2014 has seen all the major retailers pull out all the stops to be named the winner.


It’s something we all look forward to since Coca-Cola released its ‘Holidays are Coming’ advert in 1995. Today the level of creativity, production and air time given to these ‘mini-films’ is astounding.


Last week the nation was overcome with love for Monty the Penguin. It set social media alight and the department store promptly sold out of the cuddly toy priced at an astonishing £95 each.


The £7million advertisement certainly stole our hearts but it was Marks and Spencer who decided to create an air of mystery around its Christmas advert with its #FollowtheFairies social media campaign and various PR stunts to get the British public guessing what it was all about.


It’s fair to say that these adverts are so anticipated that many of us can’t wait until they make their debut during X-Factor on a Saturday night, so we head onto social platforms such as Twitter to view them before they’re officially aired. This really says  a lot about how we consume content nowadays and has shown retailers how powerful social channels can be in promoting their Christmas wares.


Until this week we all thought #MontyThePenguin was king of Christmas and then Sainsbury’s revealed its advert.


The supermarket has teamed up with the Royal British Legion to retell the legendary story of a football match held on Christmas Day between German and British soldiers.  


Their strapline is; ‘Christmas is for sharing,’ which on the surface seems very generous that the retailer has used its advertising budget not to showcase its products but to encourage us to do something for others this year. Furthermore, the profit from the sales of the chocolate bar that features in the advert will be given to the veterans’ charity.


Unfortunately the advert has had some to mixed reviews.


Ally Fogg, journalist at The Guardian cites it as: “a dangerous and disrespectful masterpiece.”


He continues: “Somewhere close to 40 million young men were killed, lost or mutilated in the First World War. Sainsbury’s has all but dressed them in a sandwich board. Donating profits to the Royal British Legion from the sale of the special chocolate bar that appears in the advert doesn’t change that.”


And his feelings have been reflected by the number of complaints the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) has received – almost 200 complaints in two days.


But is it really all that bad? If we look on Twitter, response is mixed but, most seem to like what the leading supermarket is trying to achieve. 

.@sainsburys your #sainsburyschristmas ad is morally indefensible, trivialising mass slaughter to sell groceries

Stuart Mitchell ?@SBTMitchell 26m26 minutes ago

Here is @Taff_Gillingham's wonderful account of the history behind #sainsburyschristmas ad, storified by @typejunky 

There’s no doubt about it that overall opinion is split but I  believe it’s an opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate the centenary and raise money for a worthwhile cause.

Whilst John Lewis, has chosen to capitalise on Christmas with an extortionately priced fluffy penguin, at least Sainsbury’s is trying to do something for the greater good.

That might be a naïve opinion but I’m a believer in Christmas spirit and if that advert makes a child ask about the First World War and what the men and women of that time went through so we could have the lives we have today, then in my opinion it’s a job well done.

#SainsburysChristmas or #MontyThePenguin – you decide!

Tagged with: , advert, Christmas, montythepenguin, sainsburysadvert, socialmedia, TV