No sooner had the Sainsbury's - 1914 Christmas truce advert been aired, before the Guardian had Ally Fogg calling the ad 'a dangerous and disrespectful masterpiece' in their comment is free section, prompting +1000 comments debating the virtue of using historical events in ads. The Logitech ad in 2012 which depicted the same exact world war 1 christmas miracle, did not get the same reception at all - despite not raising any money at all for soldiers, thus being strictly commercial with no charity attached. Interesting....
The ASA has so far received 240 complaints about the Sainsbury's ad, most citing the cynical use of “World War One themes/imagery to promote a supermarket” as "upsetting" and "disrespectful" to be used in an advert. That £1 chocolate seen in the ad is sold at Sainsbury's and raises money exclusively for the Royal British Legion, who worked with BBDO and director Ringan Ledwidge on this ad.
The story shown is the historical event we have seen in countless films and even a couple of operas, while the tagline ends on ‘Christmas is for sharing’, a subtle reminder of charity and sharing food.
Charles Byrne, director of fundraising for The Royal British Legion, has pointed out that it's particularly poignant with this year marking 100 years since WW1 began.
“The campaign remembers the fallen, while helping to raise vital funds to support the future of living”
It's a definite badlander, and I'm sure there's at least one more advert depicting this historical event made in the 90s, but I haven't found it yet.
Meanwhile on twitter (the majority of the tweets about the ad are positive).
— Keith Harrison (@kharrison_star) November 12, 2014
I think the Sainsbury's Christmas ad has crossed a line and is verging on the inappropriate - cashing in on WW1 #sainsburyschristmas
— Stephanie Williamson (@BtSteph) November 12, 2014
To think, we’re just 87 years away from Sainsbury’s making a heartwarming Christmas ad about 9/11
— Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) November 13, 2014
Am I alone in finding the Sainsbury’s ad in slightly dubious taste? Using WWI to advertise a supermarket? Hmm
— Damian Farrell (@Dames20) November 12, 2014