AMV BBDO Gives ‘The Greatest Gift’ for Its Last Sainsbury’s Campaign

By Erik Oster 

AMV BBDO’s launched what will be its last Christmas spot for Sainsbury’s, as the U.K. supermarket selected W+K London as its new agency of record, after nearly forty years with AMV BBDO, back in August, following a review which also included Mother London and Mullen Lowe.

Last year the agency looked to popular children’s book character Mog for an animated spot, following the somewhat controversial spot depicting the 1914 Christmas Truce between Britain and Germany during World War I the year prior. For its final holiday spot for the brand, AMV BBDO once again turned to animation, this time of the stop-motion variety, with a little help from James Corden.

Corden plays the role of an overworked, over-stressed father of two in the ad. He worries about finding the perfect gift for his family but doesn’t have the time to go shopping, as there’s even a que for the que. Then he realizes he can provide the perfect gift, as the spot takes a sentimental turn with a somewhat silly plot development.

The musical ad is one of the most purely sentimental entries from AMV BBDO. While the animation is charming, the whole thing hinges on a plot development that some may find hard to get on board with. But perhaps it’s best not to take it too seriously, as this is just a holiday ad after all and Christmas efforts usually involve both suspension of disbelief and giving in to such sentimentality. The spot does succeed in creating an engrossing animated world for viewers and the subtle but widespread multiculturalism, at a time when multiculturalism seems under attack on both sides of the Atlantic, is a welcome touch.


“Christmas has been very successful for us, and we have enjoyed working together. Retail is a fast-changing environment, and we thought it would be an opportunity to work with a new partner with a fresh pair of eyes,” Sainsbury head of broadcast communications Sarah Kilmartin told Marketing Week.

“Everybody knows the competition is as great as it has ever been,” she added. “The job to do is the same job we have been doing for a long time, but Christmas gives us a great opportunity to really revel in the work we do. It gives us a good platform for the rest of the year.”