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Sainsbury’s defends Christmas advert featuring black family after trolls criticise them for being ‘woke’

‘We aim to represent a modern Britain’, says retailer

Sarah Young
Monday 16 November 2020 16:25 GMT
Sainsbury's Christmas ad featuring Black family

Sainsbury’s has said it strives to “represent a modern Britain” after it was criticised for releasing a Christmas advert featuring a black family.

On Saturday, the supermarket shared the first of three Christmas adverts it is releasing this year on Twitter.

The one-minute-long clip, titled Gravy Song, features a heartwarming phone call between a father and daughter as they share their excitement for Christmas, and their hopes of spending the day together amid the coronavirus crisis.

The advert shows a montage of throwback home video-style footage over the phone conversation. Laughing as they recall festive family memories, including the dad's famous gravy, the daughter says: “Your gravy is good to be fair and...I just really want to be home for it.”

While the advert has been created as an ode to how food can create happy memories for people, some Twitter users have hit out at the company for featuring a black family in the clip.

Some argued that the advert did not represent them while others threatened to boycott the supermarket for “virtue signalling”.


“The UK is 80 per cent white. Do Sainsburys not have data on who actually shops there lol?” one person wrote.

Another added: “This doesn’t represent me, I don’t see myself in this at all. I can’t relate.”

A third person wrote: “Another one added to the banned list. Go woke go broke.”

Meanwhile, others called out the “racist” comments that were being left under the video and praised Sainsbury’s for promoting diversity.

“With all the other Christmas ads mostly featuring interracial couples/families it's nice that you have done a black family a dark skinned one at that! Who you rarely see on TV, thank you,” one person commented.

Another agreed, writing: “I wouldn’t normally weigh in on a Christmas advert but i’ve just read through the replies and wanted to say bravo to whoever’s running your social media accounts and having to spend their day replying to sad old racists throwing tantrums.”

Some people also took the opportunity to mock those leaving negative comments on the Christmas advert, with person ironically writing: “I'm very upset about the Aldi advert actually because I'm not a carrot and us non carrot people have not been represented.”

Another added: “You can’t relate to an advert showing a family of human beings. Are you alright Debbie?!”

After witnessing the debate on social media, Sainsbury’s weighed in and began replying to a number of the comments.

“At Sainsbury's, we want to be the most inclusive retailer,” it said.

“That's why, throughout all our advertising we aim to represent a modern Britain, which has a diverse range of communities. We have three stories of three different families in our advertising.”

Gravy Song is the first of three festive adverts being released by the supermarket. The second, called Perfect Portions, was shared on its Twitter account on Monday.


The advert runs in a similar vein to the first, this time showing home video footage of a mother and son sharing memories of past Christmases.

The final film, Big Sarnie, is being released on 19 November, and will show two cousins reminiscing about Boxing Day at their nan’s.

Each advert has the same caption at the end: “Food is home. Home is Christmas.”.

Emma Bisley, from Sainsbury’s, said: “We know that this year has been different for everyone.

“It’s our memories of these dishes, prepared by the people we love, that have the power to transport us home - whether we’re there or not.

“We hope everyone enjoys watching the collection and it takes them back to their fondest memories of food, home and Christmas.”

The Independent has contacted Sainsbury’s for comment.

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