Sainsbury's launches 'Christmas Is for Sharing' WW1 ad

The evocative ad recalls Christmas 1914, when in the midst of war, British and German soldiers briefly put down their weapons and shared holiday greetings and a game of football

LONDON — U.K. supermarket chain Sainsbury's has launched its "Christmas Is for Sharing" World War I ad featuring a chocolate bar the supermarket will be selling in stores to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

The spot has has caught the imagination of U.K. viewers. It was created by Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO and features a British solider who goes into No Man’s Land in between the British and German trenches on Christmas Day during the First World War.

In the ad the British soldiers play against the Germans in No Man’s Land, in reference to the match played on Christmas Day in 1914. The British soldier connects with a German counterpart and slips a bar of chocolate into his pocket as a gift.

Ringan Ledwidge directed the spot through Rattling Stick. PHD was responsible for the media planning and buying.

The full-length ad runs more than three minutes. Shorter versions will run in peak programming in the weeks before Christmas.

"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," said Mark Given, the head of brand communications at Sainsbury’s.

"The Christmas truce is an emotive and cherished story in our history that is especially poignant in this First World War centenary year. That’s why we have worked together closely with the Legion to ensure we bring this moment to life with authenticity and respect.

"We know many of our customers feel as passionately about the incredible work of the Legion as we do," Given said. "We hope our campaign will raise awareness and funds for the Legion and inspire our customers to share a memorable Christmas with family and friends."

The campaign is part of Sainsbury's 20-year relationship with the Royal British Legion. The chocolate bar in the ad, with the same packaging, will be available for £1 ($1.57), with all profits going to the charity.

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