Tesco: the UK’s hardest-working Christmas ad campaign?

Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s big Christmas film for Tesco reinvents the van driver as an alternative Santa Claus, time travelling through the decades to drop off Christmas goodies in all sorts of unexpected places.


The magical driver visits Winston Churchill in 10 Downing Street; arrives on the set of classic 80s game show, Bullseye; and even stops off at a 90s rave to fuel partygoers with a sugar-heavy package. It’s all set to the Phil Spector Christmas classic, “Sleigh Ride” by the Ronettes, and directed with humour and verve by Traktor.

The entertainment value is high, but the whole campaign reaches another dimension by working tirelessly for Tesco on so many levels. Unlike most other Christmas ads, it isn’t an isolated, one-off idea, but builds cleverly on the retailer’s centenary celebrations, which have been running all year.

BBH’s work seamlessly includes every type of Tesco customer, and throws hundreds of Tesco products into the mix — even the fashion is all courtesy of the retailer’s F&F clothing brand. The print and social executions are not just cut-downs and screen-shots from the main ad, but are individual contributions to a wider campaign that targets pretty much everyone, everywhere.

The van driver will also be clocking up overtime at Christmas by making deliveries in paid for slots during TV shows, and potentially in real life too.

MAA creative scale: 7

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.