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Complaints flood in over Sainsbury’s war advert

This news post is about 8 years old
 

Objectors claim the supermarket, which is supporting the Royal British Legion, is being distasteful with its Christmas campaign

Hundreds of complaints have been made to the advertising watchdog over Sainsbury’s World War I inspired Christmas advert.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has received 240 complaints about the feature (above) which was made in partnership with the Royal British Legion.

It focuses on the famous truce between British and German soldiers on Christmas Day 1914 where soldiers met in no man's land and held an impromptu game of football.

One hundred years on from the 1914 Christmas truce, the campaign remembers the fallen, while helping to raise vital funds to support the future of living

In the ad, a British soldier is seen giving his German counterpart a bar of chocolate and the tagline reads “Christmas is for sharing”.

Cynics say Sainsbury’s use of imagery from the war for commercial gain is distasteful while others have described the three-minute clip as a work of art.

Complaints have also been made that it is not clear the feature is an advert from the beginning.

The Royal British Legion, which has been one of the supermarket’s charity partners for 20 years, is to benefit from sales of the chocolate bar featured in the advert, sales of which have apparently rocketed to 5,000 an hour.

The charity pointed out the advert is an “interpretation of historical events” and it would be up to Sainsbury’s to answer any complaints.

Charles Byrne, director of fundraising for the Royal British Legion, said: "We're very proud of our 20-year partnership with Sainsbury's and this campaign is particularly important.

“One hundred years on from the 1914 Christmas truce, the campaign remembers the fallen, while helping to raise vital funds to support the future of living.”

Mark Given, head of brand communications at Sainsbury's, said: "This year, we wanted to reflect that theme of sharing in our Christmas campaign through the lens of one of the most extraordinary moments of sharing in modern history when, on Christmas Day 1914, British and German soldiers laid down their arms, and came together on neutral territory to share stories, mementoes and even a game of football.

“The Christmas truce is an especially poignant story from First World War that has been recreated on a number of occasions and we know it resonates with many of our customers and colleagues. We’ve partnered with The Royal British Legion to ensure we tell this story with authenticity and respect and we hope it will help keep alive the memory of the fallen that made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their country.

"It is also a way for us to mark the 20th anniversary of our partnership with The Royal British Legion and to help us raise additional funds for them."

ASA has yet to announce whether it will follow up the complaints with an investigation.

 

Comments

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Mike Trevett
about 8 years ago
Christmas 1914, the German plan to knock out France before tackling Russia had failed, forcing the armies of Germany, the UK and France into the trenches. The war could have ended then, the ordinary soldier knew it but the Generals wanted their victory. Better that it had ended over a swapped bar of chocolate than all the suffering that followed for the next 4 years. This ad celebrates humanity, it doesn't besmirch the memory of brave men, we so need to get over ourselves and see that humanity and compassion in this world is more important that beating each other to a bloody pulp.
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Don Ward
about 8 years ago
I, having served 35 years in the Forces, have no problem with this advert. It shows that people can be human, it reflects a joining of (enemies) during a terrible war. It is period that must be remembered, children can see two things here, the terrible conditions that existed then and the giving of a gift. The gift itself (items of food etc.,) were exchanged during this period. The other important fact is that the advert has provided "food for thought" and produced a good donation to the British Legion who do a splendid job.
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Owen Gray
about 8 years ago
suck ass
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Craig Kinghorn
about 8 years ago
lolololololllolololol
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randy orton
about 8 years ago
rko out of nowhere
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Juliette costanza
about 8 years ago
It is vital to recall our historical events and share it .... But what would of been more appropriate if the 4 main supermarkets had formed together and not just Sainsbury throwing themselves for self promotion... Proceeds all for charity . I feel the message got lost as it just became a commercial stintShame on you Sainsburys
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ralph and beatrix davies
about 8 years ago
We were absolutely astonished and upset when we reached the end of what was a well-acted if sentimental re-creation of the famous football match in WW1 to discover that it was an advert for a supermarket. What was an amazing and touching event in the middle of horrendous carnage before and after has been used in the pursuit of profit for a supermarket. Mark Given relies on Sainsbury's support of the British Legion over 20 years as exculpation of this bad attempt to advertise its goods....this is pathetic and we presume that the Legion went along with it as it brought more funds for a good charity. Organisations are led from the top and this advertisement says something is wrong at Sainsbury's....shan't be buying there now.
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Owen Gray
about 8 years ago
i kissed a boy and I liked and my sister watched