Why Sainsbury’s featuring Co-op items is a triumph for Christmas adverts

The “real life” footage used in Sainsbury’s Christmas in a Day commercial is just that

 

Share
Related Topics

The eagle-eyed marketing people at Co-op have scored a few PR points by spotting three of the supermarket’s food products in the Christmas ad for rival Sainsbury’s.

Reverse product placement! The big advertising moment of the year, the blockbuster Christmas commercial, and it ends up promoting a rival brand! To corporate control freaks it might seem a sackable offence. Not to my mind.

In the manipulative world of modern television – where content is so often subject to the brand police and the political spin doctors - it’s nice to know that the “real life” footage used in Sainsbury’s Christmas in a Day commercial is just that.

The sequence in question features a chap called Jonathan Proud, who films himself making his meticulous Christmas dinner preparations. Evidently some Co-op products found their way onto Mr Proud’s balance sheet (which he holds up for the camera) and they can be spotted in the background on his worktop.

Mr Proud’s footage was part of 360 hours of film gathered by the Scottish director Kevin Macdonald for this special project. Macdonald asked the public to send him film of how they spent last Michaelmas so that he could show how Britain “really celebrates Christmas”.

I’m a big fan of Macdonald’s. He’s probably best known for the Idi Amin feature film Last King of Scotland but he won an Oscar for the documentary One Day in September, about the terrorist massacre at the Munich Olympics in 1972. One of his most remarkable productions was Life in a Day, which involved people all over the world contributing home footage in a single 24 hour period. Christmas in a Day was an extension of that, a lovely idea. Sainsbury’s was the sponsor and they got a Christmas advert out of it.

The commercial is a triumph. In a review of this year’s Christmas ads in Marketing Week, Sainsbury’s offering was declared the outright winner.

The format ensures it has an authenticity that other supermarkets have gone to great lengths to capture by employing actors and animators. Yet the familiar routines of 25 December give the film a narrative and there is a wonderful finale as the children in an Army family are reunited with their soldier dad for Christmas.

And yes, because the footage is real, these everyday homes have other products in the background, including some Co-op food. I’m pleased that Kevin Macdonald didn’t notice that – and would be even happier if he did, but decided to leave it in anyway.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Dynamics CRM Developer (C#, .NET, Dynamics CRM 2011/2013)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Dynamics CRM D...

Web Developer (C#, ASP.NET, AJAX, JavaScript, MVC, HTML)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Web Developer ...

C# R&D .NET Developer-Algorithms, WCF, WPF, Agile, ASP.NET,MVC

£50000 - £67000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# R&D .NE...

C# Developer (Web, HTML5, CSS3, ASP.NET, JS, Visual Studios)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Deputy Editor's Letter:

Independent Voices, Indy Voices Rhodri Jones
A couple stand in front of a beautiful cloudy scene  

In sickness and in health: It’s been stormy but there are blessings in the clouds

Rebecca Armstrong
Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor