Do you think the Sainsbury’s advert is moving or cynical?

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The 2014 Sainsbury’s Christmas commercial has moved many viewers to tears. When it was first shown the internet lit up with links and “likes”.

And in less than 24 hours the store chain’s official YouTube video had scored more than 1.8 million hits.

While most feedback for the 3min 20sec ad is positive, others on Twitter claim it is “profoundly distasteful” and “terribly exploitative”.

The Advertising Standards Authority said there had been many complaints since it was first shown during Wednesday night’s Coronation Street.

Most said it was offensive to use First World War imagery to promote a business or that it was not clear from the outset that it was an advert.


Sainsbury’s said the advert was meant to “raise awareness and funds during this centenary year”.

Do you think the Sainsbury's advert is moving or Cynical?

491 people have voted

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17th Nov 2014
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There is no denying the advert is beautifully shot and I can see why people might be moved but it's that that makes this so cynical. It isn't a documentary, or a tribute, it's about selling beans!

I'm aware that RBL is getting some funds from the sale of a chocolate bar, but this muddying of the waters just makes it worse in my view.

Naturally, others may have a different view, and I respect that, but I feel very uncomfortable about the whole thing. And let's face it, like it or loathe it, it's a marketing masterstroke as everyone's talking about it.
17th Nov 2014
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The advert was completed by Sainsbury's in collaboration with the Royal British Legion and they are selling chocolate bars, like the one in the advert, for £1 with all profits going to RBL. I haven't seen the advert on TV so don't know whether this is made clear - I only realised this from an article on Facebook!

I think the advert is very moving and have bought several chocolate bars to give to family at Christmas in order to further support RBL.
16th Nov 2014
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I like the advert very much but I'm not sure it should be used to promote Christmas as those men fighting in the First World War wouldn't be spending a load of money in a supermarket, I would have liked to have seen it as a charity advert with money going to the Royal British Legion.
15th Nov 2014
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I found the advert very moving.
15th Nov 2014
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I have not seen this advert on TV. It's very moving, especially for me. My grandfather was there, he told me the story every christmas.
Hilary Banks
14th Nov 2014
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Prior to the advert ITV made an announcement can't recall the exact wording but they said something like 'We are proud to present a very special advertisement '. So it WAS clear from the outset that it was an advert !!!
14th Nov 2014
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I must say I cannot remember seeing or hearing that?
14th Nov 2014
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I think its a great advert and well produced but I am not sure Sainsburys should have produced this as a Christmas Advert as lets face it they did it for commercial reasons. From their point of view it must be positive though as its getting so much banter already and has a huge amount of YouTube views in just a few days. Would be interesting to know which advertising agency thought this one up and whats their view of it!
14th Nov 2014
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Very moving film,but the tweaking and use of a well-known event is so inappropriate.
Pete H
14th Nov 2014
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I am torn on this one - on one hand I think the execution of the advert is fantastic and incredibly moving. BUT I feel very uncomfortable about the subject matter being used to promote Sainsburys, who lets face it are struggling at the moment and have produced this only to stimulate Christmas sales. I hope the British Legion get significant benefit but at the end of the day Sainsburys are only interested in boosting their flagging sales revenue!!
14th Nov 2014
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I agree to an extent, Pete H.

One thing I would say, however, is that it does deliver a powerful message. Despite the very commercial "Christmas is for sharing" strap line (come and buy our stuff and give it to other people - buy buy buy), the essence of the message is good. It reminds us that humanity exists even in war. It reminds us that man is essentially good, and most of us share the same core values. It also promotes the Royal British Legion in an advert with production values that would be hard for them to achieve without significant financial backing.

What I am trying to say is I agree that it could be seen as abusing the memory of these brave men to shift products, but you cannot deny it raises awareness for the British Legion and the atrocities of war that we should never forget - in a way that the British Legion would struggle to finance on there own.

I think charities need to work in a commercial way to see the huge returns that they deserve. The advert works for both parties, and I think it's better that the good message get high budget air time, rather than it being ignored because the Sainsbury's marketing team feel the message may be cynically received.

If every company teamed with charities to make moving adverts, despite the companies motives, the charities and important messages would get more public awareness - and this is ultimately a good thing.

I watched this video some time ago, and it totally changed my viewpoint on how i view charities acting in a commercial way, it's very powerful:

Hope you enjoy it.
14th Nov 2014
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Fantastic marketing I think plays on the right spirit at the right time and what it can achieve despite being on opposite sides with different views, it is about what grown men can and should achieve!

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