With nary a brand or a product in sight, U.K. supermarket Sainsbury's has used the experiences of real families during Christmas 2012 in creating a feature film and commercials to promote its Christmas 2013.
Variously described as "crowd-sourced" and a "user-generated feature," the film, "Christmas in a Day," runs 48 minutes on YouTube. It can also be seen in shorter snippets on television and online.
Compiled over 14 months by director, Kevin Macdonald (best known for The Last King of Scotland and Touching the Void), and produced by Ridley Scott's Scott-Free company, the film covers the full range of Sainsbury's customers from a newborn to a 106-year-old celebrating her birthday. All variations in between are depicted, from families to singletons, showing what the day means to them.
The final film was created from 360 hours of footage contributed by 114 families and was inspired by Mr. Macdonald's 2010 film, Life in a Day. Mr. Macdonald told Adweek, "When we were cutting that film, we talked about what it might be like if we chose a day that already had significance to people. The result is Christmas in a Day."
As well as more conventional ads in the run-up to the holiday, Sainsbury's launched the season with a three-and-a-half minute trailer. Two shorter, 40- and 60-second, versions are running through December.
Britain's Guardian said the ad "reflects a trend by retailers this year to create memorable films that will attract chatter and interest on social media sites as the internet becomes a core part of ad campaigns." The Las Vegas Guardian believes it "may lead to a whole new way of looking at how to sell goods."
Sainsbury's head of brand communications, Mark Given, said social media spend has increased and they wanted to do something that was not a "pastiche of Christmas" with "digital at the heart of the campaign." He added, "At this time of year people want to be entertained and engaged and sometimes we can shout too much about our products ... the film also tried to pick up on the idea of engaging with local communities," according to the Guardian.
How effective do you think the "Christmas in a Day" campaign will be in promoting the Sainsbury's brand with consumers in its home market?