Sainsbury’s Does Complete 180 with New Holiday Spot from Gravity Road

By Erik Oster 

Last month, Sainsbury’s unveiled a high-budget holiday ad created by agency AMV BBDO commemorating the famous “Christmas Truce” of World War I. Unfortunately for the brand, it didn’t find the reception it was looking for, with many in the British public finding the ad distasteful or even hypocritical (Sainsbury’s is planning to knock down a Bristol rugby stadium built in honor of World War I veterans to make way for one of its stores).

So now the brand has completely reversed course with an online holiday ad from Gravity Road entitled “Dads Pull Out Surprise Dubstep Dance for Christmas.” Whereas the “Christmas Truce” spot was clearly labored over with a large production budget, this effort was shot with a handheld camera in an attempt to seem like a homemade video. And while the previous ad was serious and somber, this effort couldn’t be more goofy and lighthearted. As the title implies, the spot sees some dads pull out a surprise dance routine. That the dads do so while wearing jumpers (sweaters as they’re known here in the states) seems an attempt to cash in on this year’s craze for the “ugly sweater.” Their dance is performed to a re-mixed version of Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from The Nutcracker.

“The piece was always designed as a piece of content that would live on Facebook primarily,” Pete Conolly, creative director at Gravity Road, told Digiday.

Since being uploaded around a week ago, the video has racked up over a million views on Facebook and YouTube, with at least one fan calling for it to be shown on television. The ad is unlikely to generate the same kind of backlash as Sainsbury’s previous effort, as it’s hard to get too offended over Christmas sweaters.

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