Tesco’s Christmas TV spot has garnered more than 3,000 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority since its launch three days ago.
Most of the complaints state that the ad encourages medical discrimination, picking up on the scene of Santa having to show his vaccination status to enter the UK.
The ad, by Bartle Bogle Hegarty London, focuses on the UK’s determination to enjoy this Christmas after pandemic restrictions nobbled last year's.
In the ad, the announcement that “Santa could be quarantined” shocks the nation, until Santa shows his Covid-19 pass at passport control. With Santa bolstered by cheers from those in the airport and those at home, the ad then continues to show members of the public pushing forward with their plans.
An ASA spokesperson said: “We've received over 3,000 complaints regarding this ad. We are currently carefully reviewing these complaints to determine whether there are any grounds for further action.
“The large majority of complaints assert that the ad is coercive, and encourages medical discrimination based on vaccine status.”
Last year's most-complained about ad, Ryanair's press execution "Jab and go", attracted 2371 objections and was banned because it could be seen to be encouraging people to act irresponsibly once they were vaccinated.
When approached for comment, a Tesco spokesperson said: “We respect everyone’s views and we know that Christmas is a hugely important time for many of our customers and, after last year's events, that is truer now than ever.
“We set out to create a campaign which took a light-hearted view on how the nation is feeling and it has been well received by colleagues and customers. We are still in the midst of a pandemic and the advert reflects the current rules and regulations regarding international travel.”
The campaign is supported by social media, in-store displays, and out-of-home advertising.