Waitrose Skips the Whimsical but Still Warms Hearts in Its Christmas Ad

And you might actually remember what's being advertised

Christmas storytelling is an annual rite of advertising one-upsmanship in Britain. But how can you weave a heart-warming tale while still keeping your product front and center?

U.K. grocery chain Waitrose has found one solution by focusing on something that differentiates its staff. Employee-shared ownership in the company, which would normally be the driest of dry topics, takes a charming turn in the store's new holiday spot from BBH London. A real employee, Adejumoke Sanusi of Ilford, was even cast to play herself.

The ad follows the story of an introverted young woman tackling a holiday baking challenge for school. Unlike the fantastical whimsy of advertisers like John Lewis, this ad is far more grounded in the reality of why you'd actually need to turn (time and again) to a helpful grocery clerk. 

It likely won't leave you wiping tears from your eyes, but on the other hand, you'll probably at least remember what was being advertised.

By the way, the soundtrack comes from an interesting source: Members of the public joined a "Donate Your Voice" effort to create the track, a cover of Dolly Parton's "Try." The song is available for purchase on iTunes, with proceeds going to three U.K. charities.


Client: Waitrose

Marketing Director: Rupert Thomas

Head of Marketing: Rupert Ellwood

Manager, Advertising: Jo Massey

Marketing Manager, Advertising: Libby Langridge

Agency: BBH, London

Creative Team: Fred Rodwell, Andy Parsons

Creative Directors: Ken Hoggins, Martha Riley

Strategist: Melanie Arrow

Strategy Director: Tom Roach

Business Lead: Sian Cook

Team Manager: Emma Johnston-Donne

Team Director: Kayleigh Chapman

Producer: Glenn Paton

Assistant Producer: Sarah Cooper

Production Company: Park Pictures

Director: Tom Tagholm

Executive Producer: Stephen Brierley

Producer: Fran Thompson

Director of Photography: Rob Hardy

Postproduction: MPC

Visual Effects Producer: Amy Richardson

Visual Effects Supervisor: Jonathan Box

Colorist: Jean-Clément Soret

Editing House: Stitch

Editor: Tim Hardy

Sound: Sam Ashwell at 750mph

Music Supervisor: The Most Radicalist Black Sheep Music

Music Producer: David Kosten

Music Publisher: Carlin Music

Music Label: BMG Chrysalis