Christmas TV adverts: M&S and Sainsbury’s launch early amid cost of living crisis | Retail business

The Christmas advertising season has kicked off with major retailers including Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer changing their plans due to the cost of living crisis.

The M&S clothing and home ad, which last year had an extravaganza inspired by Singin’ in the Rain and Busby Berkeley’s 1930s showgirls, is putting charitable causes at the heart of its advertising this year.

The advert directed by The Greatest Showman director Michael Gracey, which debuts at 9pm Friday on Channel 4 ahead of Gogglebox, features the recipients of the retailer’s £1million donation to 1,000 community groups and good causes via the Neighborly platform.

Participants range from a Bolton marching band and Bengali dance troupe to Kaotic Angels, a biker group made up of former uniformed personnel including soldiers and medics who provide meals on wheels and a support for veterans and the homeless. The soundtrack includes Harry Styles’ song Treat People with Kindness.

The retailer has also moved its ad a few days earlier than last year, launching on the same day as Sainsbury’s, which is posting its ad a week earlier than before. The supermarket chain’s decision to go ahead of Armistice Day for the first time in at least a decade came after reports of cash-strapped customers advancing purchases to spread the cost of the festive shop .

High inflation in the price of advertising spots in the run up to Christmas, when the FIFA World Cup and Black Friday combine with the traditional peak shopping season, is also thought to have played a part in the early start. of certain brands.

As a result, M&S and Sainsbury’s are launching ahead of John Lewis’ announcement next Thursday. The department store chain traditionally kicks off the Christmas season with its heartwarming big-budget campaigns.

Alison Hammond in Sainsbury's Christmas advert
Sainsbury’s Christmas ad features This Morning presenter Alison Hammond as a fairytale countess. Photography: Sainsbury’s

Retailers are struggling to strike the right tone for their annual promotional campaign as a rise in the cost of basic necessities, including energy bills and food, leaves many families strapped for cash, while others want to celebrate the first Christmas in two years without Covid restrictions.

Anna Braithwaite, clothing and home marketing director for M&S, said she started planning her Christmas ad in May, but “took our idea off the table” and started again in June after seeing ” the nation’s mood had changed” and they could not just focus on “product and value”.

“We listen to our customers and we’ve seen month after month that they talk more about the community and we’ve changed to make sure we reflect that,” she said.

Discount grocer Lidl’s Christmas ad also launches on Friday with a charity angle. It features a teddy bear who is the mascot for Lidl Bear’s Toy Bank, a donation initiative in which new or unused toys and games will be passed on to children through the community social network Neighbourly.

By contrast, Sainsbury’s, Boots and others have stuck to big-budget adverts that take viewers into a fantasy world where they can indulge in a luxury Christmas treat.

Sainsbury’s has This Morning presenter and former Big Brother contestant Alison Hammond as a fairytale countess who pressures a servant to come up with an alternative to the traditional pudding. The ad is set to a medieval “Bardcore” style cover of Wheatus’ hit Teenage Dirtbag.

Boots' Christmas is hosted by Year & Years star Lydia West
Boots’s Christmas is directed by Year & Years star Lydia West. Photography: M&S

Boots’ offer is led by It’s a Sin and Year & Years star Lydia West, who finds a pair of magical glasses that allow her to see people’s Christmas dreams.

“Christmas is the hardest time of the year – it’s a time people cherish and having the right tone is key,” said Laurent Simon of agency VMLY&R London who helped create the Boots advertisement.

“This year, the challenge has been even greater, as customers worry about how they will pay. And while the tightening of belts and purse strings is a reality, we also know that people still want to make Christmas magical and meaningful.

In its second big-budget Christmas advert, Sports Direct skits its traditional rivals, but with a new twist linked to the FIFA World Cup which kicks off in Qatar on November 20. The clips, which all feature former Manchester United player Eric Cantona, include a silver tray placed on a table full of food, but when its domed lid is removed it reveals a football instead of a a turkey.

Leave a Reply