Sainsbury’s has revealed its Christmas advert, which boasts a striking number of similarities to the recent campaign that ran for John Lewis. However, one of the retailer’s top marketers has dismissed concerns that viewers may get confused.
Created by ad agency Wieden+Kennedy London and directed by Michael Gracey, who also directed the film The Greatest Showman, the supermarket's advert sees a group of children come together for a school Christmas show.
Led by a young girl dressed as a star, an eclectic cast of Christmas characters give a rendition of the New Radicals’ nineties song, 'You Get What You Give', as their parents watch on.
But the storyline might prove familiar for viewers. Just two months ago, John Lewis released an advert which showed a group of cute primary school kids putting on a special performance of Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen for their surprised parents. See the ad below.
The John Lewis advert was made by Adam&Eve DDB and received significant airtime, still recently running on primetime TV as well as in cinemas and online.
Sainsbury’s head of broadcast marketing, Laura Boothby, said any similarities are coincidental, stressing that W+K London started work on the campaign in January and that it didn’t reconsider alternative creative after seeing John Lewis’ campaign in September.
"When John Lewis launched [its ad], it set a standard," Boothby said. "But I think what we've got is right for Sainsbury's. It has such a Christmas feel, school plays happen at Christmas so for us it wasn't a worry."
She added that the black, white and orange colours at the beginning of the spot will be a clear indicator for viewers that it's an ad for Sainsbury's.
The retailer declined to reveal how much it had spent on the campaign.
It will air from today (12 November) during Coronation Street on ITV, with the extended advert due to roll out on all social channels. It forms part of the brand’s large-scale ‘We give all we’ve got for the ones we love’ marketing campaign with additional food and drink TV, radio, print, digital, social and OOH advertising planned around the same message.
“This year, we have set out to create an advert that captures the passion, emotion and excitement of the festive season, in a setting that’s familiar to us all – no matter how old we are,” continued Boothby.
“Customers tell us that what matters most to them at Christmas is spending time together with family and friends and making it truly special for them – and that’s what giving all you’ve got is about.
“The school show is a flagship Christmas moment for many: the evenings spent frantically learning lines, the inventive costumes – the whole family truly plays a part. This made it the perfect setting to bring our Christmas message to life – watching little ones give all they’ve got, for their loved ones watching on.”
The ad features almost 60 children from across the country. Sainsbury’s has also created a behind the scenes film showing how it was made, featuring interviews with the kids, which will be used across online and social channels.
It will be hoping that the work will help it not only stand-out in during the festive season but drive shoppers into stores.
Bosses of the UK's second largest supermarket chain warned last week during its first-quarter trading update that consumer outlook remained "uncertain" in the run-up to the crucial Christmas trading period, with the market remaining "highly competitive and very promotional".