UK ad regulator gets volley of complaints about Sainsbury’s Christmas Great War epic

240 at the last count, complaining that the ad (below) is, among other things, ‘disrespectful’ and ‘cynical.’

Which is worrying for Sainsbury’s because UK ad regulator the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a number of ads in recent times after receiving just one complaint.

But disrespectful (not a proper word I suspect, but it’s in the language) to whom?

You wonder who’s making these complaints. Members of the public are quite entitled to complain about anything but you do rather suspect that this may be single-issue pressure groups who dislike war, big business, or anyone attaching a view on the former to the latter.

In its own PR about the campaign Sainsbury’s might be criticised for not making more clear the fact that the chocolate bars in the film are to be sold through their stores, with the proceeds going to the Royal British Legion. Apparently, they’re selling like hot cakes.

But Sainsbury’s had just announced a bloody great write-off, because its vast property holding is now worth less than it was, so it can be forgiven for trying to make itself the star of proceedings rather than the RBL.

If the ASA bans this one the game’s up.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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