Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Boots join UK adland’s Christmas festivities

Christmas ads are coming thick and fast now although John Lewis, the template, has yet to land. But JL is a touch curmudgeonly with its media budget so it has a lot to do in a short time.

Christmas ads have been described as the UK’s Super Bowl, a showcase for the best (and most expensive.) Not entirely sure if they’re living up to that this year.

Anyway, first up is Sainsbury’s from Wieden+Kennedy, teased cleverly yesterday on Twitter.

Why do agencies automatically think medieval banquets when it comes to Christmas? W+K has a historic penchant for such things with its long-running faux medieval series for Bud Light in the US. Here we go, back to the 13th century or whenever. Maybe Portland had some costumes left over?

Alison Hammond in the countess’s chair – with a pudding issue.

And it’s OK, nicely acted by the cook-under-pressure especially. See that gammon seems to have taken over from turkey in these this year. A turkey shortage or cost-of-living choice? Lots of product shots of course and a big plug for premium brand Taste the Difference. Job more or less done but hardly wildly original.

MAA creative scale: 6.5.

PS: Historical note – the wigs came later.

Morrisons is caught between a rock and a hard place, saddled with billions of buyout debt and relentlessly squeezed by Aldi and Lidl at one end and Tesco at the other.

It’s one ad idea, “market street,” ran out of legs years ago so Publicis Poke introduced ‘Farmer Christmas’ and here’s the old boy again. Spreading that old Christmas cheer (and gammon) as you do.

MAA creative scale: Average – 4.

Boots has the same private equity issues as Morrisons, having been mercilessly milked by Walgreens Boots Alliance for decades.

This, from WPP’s The Pharm (oh dear), which seems to be helmed by VMLY&R, is presumably trying to do a number for its posher shopping centre outlets (the pharmacies hardly radiate cheer of any description.)

Starts off with a young person on a bus (hooray – modern life) and then introduces all sorts of glittery things through her magic specs.

“Joy for all” seems to be a cost -of-living pitch. That is, you can buy modestly priced gifts at Boots. Shame you can’t see what they are, maybe they don’t have that many.

But at least there’s an idea lurking there. Still miss the old Boots ads from Mother, which were brilliant. Hall & Oates works OK.

MAA creative scale: 5.5.

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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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