AMV BBDO Celebrates Historic 1914 Christmas Truce for Sainsbury’s

By Erik Oster 

AMV BBDO created a holiday ad for U.K. supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, telling the story of the historic 1914 Christmas Truce between Britain and Germany during World War I.

To make sure the details were correct for the 3:20 ad, entitled “Christmas is for Sharing,” AMV BBDO and Royal British Legion worked closely with historians, basing the ad on original reports and letters describing the event. The ad opens on Christmas Eve 1914, with both sides hunkered down in their bunkers. Soon, both the Germans and British are singing “Silent Night” and one brave soldier emerges, arms waving in peace, and walks towards the war zone. Both sides meet halfway between their bunkers, engaging in friendly conversation and even a game of footie. The spot is elaborately produced and well-shot, directed by Ringan Ledwidge, looking more like a Hollywood war film than an advertisement. Its long running time is no mere gimmick either, as the spot utilizes the time to build emotion and prepare the viewer for the ultimate payoff.

Sainsbury’s unveiled the ad during Tuesday night’s airing of Coronation Street, and a chocolate bar that features heavily into the story is available for sale in their stores, with proceed going to the Royal British Legion.

“Christmas is a special time of year when people come together to share simple moments and kindnesses,” Mark Given, head of brand communications at Sainsbury’s, told Adweek. “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, mementos and even a game of football.”

Stick around after the jump for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the ad and a look at the historical events that inspired it.


Client: Sainsbury’s
Agency: AMV BBDO
Director: Ringan Ledwidge
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Media Agency: PHD
Grade: ETC – Aubrey Woodiwiss
Edit: Work – Rich Orrick
Audio Postproduction: Wave – Aaron Reynolds, Woodwork music
Post-Production / VFX Company: The Mill
Executive Producer: Gemma Humphries
Shoot Supervisor: Hitesh Patel
2D Lead Artists: Andrew Wood
2D Artists: Joseph Tang, Gary Driver and Dan Adams
Matte Painting: Aurelien Ronceray, German Casado
Assistant Producer: Clare Melia
Colorist: Aubrey WoodIwiss @ ETC
DCP: Mick Vincent