Sainsbury christmas advert 2016

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The Sainsbury’s Christmas ad 2016 is a brilliant musical offering starring James Corden

The latest supermarket Christmas advert to hit our screens stars James Corden, is scored by an Oscar winner – and will even raise money for poorly children.

Sainsbury’s has upped the ante with its three minute 20 second story of a dad named Dave endeavouring to juggle the chaos at Christmas.

Animated, and accompanied by the dulcet tones of Brit talk show host James Corden, the musical-style tune was written by Bret McKenzie, star of comedy Flight of the Conchords.

Bret, who won the 2012 Oscar for best original song for The Muppets, composed the tune The Greatest Gift for Christmas, which is sung by Corden.

In the story, Dave comes up with a plan to clone himself to get his work done in time for the family festivities.

Using pioneering stop frame animation, 800 tiny models of Dave’s face were used to portray the full gamut of facial expressions.

The campaign will raise cash for accommodation for the families of children being treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Tim Johnson, chief executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, thanked Sainsbury’s, adding: “The money raised will enable us to help more families be together when they really need to be, by providing dedicated accommodation close to the hospital.”

He said somewhere to stay was a vital resource allowing parents and carers to be with their child within minutes, adding: “We couldn’t be happier to be involved in this campaign and hope everyone enjoys the advertisement and supports this special partnership.”

Sarah Kilmartin, head of broadcast communications at Sainsbury’s, said ‘sharing’ was a consistent theme of their adverts and it had resonated with customers.

She said supporting the Great Ormond Street charity felt like a natural extension of this, adding: “We know that the families at the hospital face more difficulties than most to spend time together as a family, at Christmas and all year round.”

Last year, their Mog the Cat ad notched up nearly 37m online views – with the accompanying book topping the UK best-selling book charts for four weeks.

In 2014 Sainsbury’s, which always waits until after Armistice Day to release its Christmas campaign, partnered with the Royal British Legion for an ad based on Christmas Day 1914 when British and German soldiers laid down their weapons and met on neutral territory.

The latest ad will screen on TV for the first time on Monday night at 9.15pm during ITV’s I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!.

James Corden Steals The Show SINGING In Sainsbury’s Musical Christmas Advert 2016

Sainsbury’s OFFICIAL Christmas advert 2016 -The Greatest Gift

This year, Sainsbury’s has paired up with Great Ormond Street Hospital for children to make their Christmas advert. Does this mean the James Corden could be heading straight for the top for Christmas number 1 2016 with this hit?

It’s okay everyone, the season to be jolly can now begin. We’ve got the John Lewis Christmas advert, the M&S Christmas trailer and now we’ve got Sainsbury’s too.

This year the supermarket giant has paired up with Great Ormond Street Hospital for children to create a musical number, sung by none other than James Corden himself, which will both pull at your heart strings and have you singing along.

Read more: The John Lewis Christmas Advert Has Finally Arrived And Buster The Dog Will Melt Your Heart!

Picture | Sainsbury’s

The animation tells the story of Dave, a hard-working and devoted dad, who realises that the greatest gift he can give people this Christmas is his time.

As the first snow falls, we find Dave caught up in the Christmas whirlwind – all he wants to do is to get home to spend time with his family, but all sorts of Christmas duties and calamities are getting in his way.

That is until he sees a gingerbread man on his daughter’s bedside table that they’ve made to look like him. That gives him a genius brainwave…

The animation is directed by Chris Fell, who was behind BAFTA-nominated Flushed Away, and is a charming tale of the importance of sharing the gift of time with loved one.

Picture | Sainsbury’s

The advert is created by stop animation which means that every single little movement is created with a single photograph. The photographs are then put together at speed so it looks like the characters are moving.

To make a film like this, even a short one, is a mammoth effort! It took more than 180 crew members, 16 weeks to build the set and characters and more than two months to complete filming for the blockbuster.

The painstaking process meant just 12 frames per hour were captured on film, amounting to just half a second of footage.

Picture | Sainsbury’s

This year, money raised from spin-off merchandise like £1 gingerbread Daves and £5 animation kits will go to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Sainsbury’s charity boss Tim Johnson said: “At Christmas, time spent with the people you love is precious. For the families of patients at Great Ormond Street Hospital who are unable to go home at Christmas, this is particularly true.

“More than half of the patients at Great Ormond Street Hospital live outside of London, and many are hours away from home. The money raised will enable us to help more families be together when they really need to be, by providing dedicated accommodation close to the hospital.”

Picture | Sainsbury’s

Does this beat John Lewis’ Buster the Dog? Or maybe M&S’s Mrs Christmas? If you think it doesn’t, then spread the seasonal joy using #ChristmasIsForSharing.

Sainsbury’s is highlighting the importance of sharing the gift of time with family and friends in its new Christmas campaign.

‘The Greatest Gift’ campaign launches today (14 November) on social media before airing on TV during during ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’ at 9.15pm. It sees the supermarket brand take on a “West End” musical style and has been created using stop-frame animation techniques. Like previous years, it has the slogan ‘Christmas Is For Sharing’ at the heart of it.

The ad, created by AMV BBDO, tells the tale of devoted dad Dave, who comes up with a plan to make sure he can be with his family for Christmas. His story is told via a joyful and humorous song ‘The Greatest Gift For Christmas Is Me’, voiced by actor James Corden and composed by Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords. The song will also be available to stream on Spotify.

Alongside the three-minute ad, the grocer has also created shorter clips featuring Dave’s family and Sainsbury’s food.

The campaign will help raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, which is looking to build on-site accommodation for families of children at the hospital. All profits from the sale of Gingerbread ‘Dave’ (£1) and The Greatest Gift film animation kit (£5) will go straight to the charity.

Aiming to surprise and delight

Sainsbury’s told Marketing Week that the brand does not have a “set formula” for its Christmas ads, but that a West End musical style fitted perfectly with its slogan ‘Christmas Is For Sharing’.

“We just want to surprise and delight and like our slogan we felt the sentiment of spending time together was an uplifting theme. When we started talking about a West End musical style ad, those two things just fitted perfectly,” said Sarah Kilmartin, head of broadcast communications at Sainsbury’s.

This Christmas campaign is the last one by its creative agency AMV BBDO, after the grocer moved its £60m account over to Wieden+Kennedy in August.

“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,” said Kilmartin about the move.

Sainsbury’s is facing a tough market. It reported a 10.1% fall in first-half profits to £277m earlier this week, with sales falling 1% in the 28 weeks to 24 September.

Kilmartin concluded: “Everybody knows the competition is as great as it has ever been. 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.”

(Picture: Getty/

Adverts. Who cares about adverts?

We care about adverts.

They’re not particularly important or earth-shattering but, done well, they’re an art form.

A good Christmas advert can make you warm and fuzzy inside, and move you as much as the most heart-rending blockbuster.

So we scoured the internet to find just some of the highlights (and low points) from this year’s group.

MORE: The Sainsbury’s Christmas advert stars James Corden – and a brilliant song you won’t get out of your head

19. Tesco – Bring It On

No, no, no, no, Tesco.

You do not get to give us a 47-second monologue justifying your decision to start selling tinsel in August.

Nor do we need a literal shopping list of all the things you happen to sell.

We know Christmas gets earlier every year, and we don’t like it. Bad, bad Tesco. Go to the naughty step.

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Festive spirit: 3

18. House of Fraser – Christmas Is Coming For You (ft Laura Mvula)

House of Fraser sink almost an entire year’s profits into an extravagant, expertly choreographed and very nicely staged musical production.

But it’s just so goshdarn creepy.

I know they’re trying to capture the party spirit but the sight of jagged trees and flying sprouts is enough to make me want to crawl under my duvet with a bottle of eggnog until the holiday season’s well and truly over.

It’s too loud, too overblown – and when we’re informed that ‘CHRISTMAS IS COMING FOR YOU’, in bold, pink-and-purple bathroom mirror scrawling, it sounds rather like a threat.

Festive spirit: 2

17. Harrods – A Very British Bear Tale

This feels rather like one of those cheap children’s books you see in garden centres.

It’s sweet enough in its own way, and nicely put together, but there is no way you’re going to convince me that this was anything but a ploy to sell an expensive ‘limited edition’ stuffed animal.

Why is the bear miraculously unfrozen?

Why is Father Christmas wearing a Harrods badge?

Why am I even asking these ridiculous questions?

Festive spirit: 6

16. John Lewis – Buster The Boxer

Buster wrecks his owner’s Christmas present and catches bovine TB.

Mangled remains of two squirrels and a hedgehog found outside by the dustbin.

Little girl goes back to jumping on the sofa, and winds up breaking two springs and her left arm.

Give this one a miss and watch the Hilary and Donald version instead; at least that one’s funny.

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Festive spirit: 4

15. Toys R Us

Oh, look. It’s that song again. Thanks, guys, that’s going to be IN MY HEAD UNTIL PANCAKE DAY.

Festive spirit: 4

14. Aldi – Kevin The Carrot

We get the feeling you’re not supposed to take this entirely seriously, which is probably a good thing, as it’s unambiguously horrific.

The titular Kevin dodges cooling roast potatoes, is horrified by the sight of his mutilated relatives, and winds up freezing to death two hundred feet up while Rudolf snaps at his ankles.

Oh, and it’s a supposedly empty living room, but the fire is burning and there’s a lit candle on the table.

I bet these people don’t even have a smoke alarm.

Festive spirit: 6

13. Argos – Yetis

Five multicoloured Yetis speed skate through Warsaw.

It’s like Teletubbies meets Monsters Inc.

And it’s basically trying to get you to buy stuff – but when it’s done with so much visual flair, it’s hard to complain.

(Although aren’t all those tablets going to be waterlogged?)

Festive spirit: 6.5

12. Very – Get More Out Of Giving

OK, Very, we can see what you were doing here.

And this is nicely animated and gets the point across.

Nice use of the company colour, as well.

I’d just like to point out that they did a Doctor Who episode about an infestation of cubes that appeared as if from nowhere, and that really didn’t end well.

Festive spirit: 7

11. Asda – Christmas Made Better

A series of brief TV spots in which Asda recreate The Waltons, show off their wine collection and try and convince us that Christmas jumpers aren’t the work of the devil.


They’re almost successful. But not quite.

Festive spirit: 7

10. Burberry – The Tale Of Thomas Burberry

Good grief, Burberry, talk about using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

The respectable fashion house shakes off its associations with football hooligans once and for all with this lavish production, which feels more like a movie trailer than an advert.

Charting the rise of Thomas Burberry, draper’s apprentice turned entrepreneur (taking certain dramatic liberties in the process), it features a stellar cast, lavish production values and powerful soundtrack.

It’s not very Christmassy, though, is it? Not a bauble in sight.

Festive spirit: 1

9. Waitrose – Home For Christmas

A few years ago, John Lewis did this with a snowman. It didn’t work.

This one does, although the mince pie product placement is a little irksome, and how the girl knows it’s the same robin is frankly beyond me.

Join us next week for the sequel, ‘The Thing That Mog Ate’.

Festive spirit: 8.5

8. Morrisons – Christmas: Morrisons Makes It

A nice, understated seasonal offering from Morrisons – snow, tinsel, turkey and Trivial Pursuit.

It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but why reinvent the wheel?

Festive spirit: 7.5

7. M&S – Christmas With Love From Mrs Claus

There’s something really rather sweet about the sight of Santa cosied up with Mrs Claus, eating cheese-and-pickle sandwiches and forgetting to visit Australia.

The story is compelling, the whole thing looks great – and the sight of Anna opening her gift will move you to tears.

But can we please stop treating this as an anti-Trump feminist anthem, and just enjoy it for what it is?


Festive spirit: 9

6. Boots – The Gift Of Beauty

Recognising that for many families a Christmas together is not an option, Boots handpicks a few firefighters, nurses and paramedics – and other women forced to work Christmas Day – and gives them a makeover.

It’s understated, satisfying and makes an important point.

Oh, and that’s Kylie Minogue on the soundtrack. What’s not to love?

Festive spirit: 8

5. TK Maxx – The Sing-Song

I just…wow. One day, all Christmas singalongs will be this much fun.

Festive spirit: 7

4. Robert Dyas – ‘Buster?… Not on my trampoline!’

Robert Dyas poke fun at John Lewis and manage to plug a bunch of their own products into the bargain.

The punch line will have you laughing all the way to the pest control aisle.

Festive spirit: 4

3. Alzheimer’s Research UK – Santa Forgot

A touching, beautifully animated ‘What if…?’ story – narrated by Stephen Fry – that takes a very different look at Father Christmas, and highlights an extremely important cause.

Festive spirit: 8

2. Sainsbury’s – The Greatest Gift

We like this a lot.

It’s funny, festive and beautifully animated.

But if Christmas really is about family, Sainsbury’s, why not put your money where your mouth is – and close all your stores on Boxing Day?

Festive spirit: 8.5

1. Lidl Ireland – Christmas Moments

Lidl’s unremarkable UK advert shows British turkeys enjoying the good life before they’re taken for the chop.

But their Irish entry for this year is lovely, telling the simple story of a family get together, with a special guest of honour.

And if your eyes don’t go misty at the sight of that empty chair, there’s something wrong with you.

Merry Christmas, one and all.

Festive spirit: 9

MORE: Boxing Day petition: Retail workers deserve a Christmas too, so keep the shops closed

MORE: Why this year’s Sainsbury’s Christmas advert is so much better than the John Lewis ad

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8 of The Best British Christmas Video Ads of 2016

Black Friday isn’t really a thing in the UK, but Christmas most certainly is. A large number of brands in the United Kingdom create Christmas video ads each year and I thought that those of us on the other side of the pond might enjoy watching.

Reviewing this short list reminds me that British brands embrace the spirit of Christmas in emotional ways that American brands seem to have forgotten in our rush to get through Thanksgiving as quickly as possible so we can do some serious shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. So, instead of leaning forward, lean back and look at the best British Christmas video ads for 2016.

Best British Christmas Video Ads 2016

#1 John Lewis – #BusterTheBoxer

I’ve already taken a deep dive into the John Lewis Christmas Advert for 2016. It tells the story of a little girl called Bridget, who loves to bounce on her bed. When her dad and mom buy her a trampoline for Christmas, they soon discover that her dog Buster, a boxer, has suddenly developed a passion for bouncing, too.

It got 16.7 million views in its first 7 days, making it the most watched Christmas advert on YouTube over the past 30 days.

#2 Sainsburys – The Greatest Gift

In second place with 6.8 million views in 7 days, is “Sainsbury’s – The Greatest Gift.” The second largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom presents a joyous Christmas musical, which was created in stop-frame animation and features the vocals by late night chat show king James Corden. It tells the story of a hard-working and devoted dad named Dave, who realizes that the greatest gift that he can give to his family, friends, and colleagues this Christmas is his time.

#3 Marks and Spencer – Christmas with Love from Mrs Claus

In third place with 4.2 million views in 7 days is “M&S 2016 Christmas Ad: Christmas with love from Mrs. Claus.” Marks and Spencer has launched its annual Christmas advert on TV and online with a modern twist on the much-loved character Mrs. Claus – and this new Christmas icon debuts with style.

#4 Waitrose – #HomeForChristmas

And even though it only generated 2.6M views in 7 days, an honorable mention goes to “Waitrose #HomeForChristmas.” It tells the story of a courageous robin, who undertakes an epic journey home to Great Britain, where a young girl eagerly awaits his annual return.

I choose the first 4 videos based on views, but if we look at engagement rate over the first seven days, we see an entirely different picture. We are using Tubular Video Ratings which is a benchmark designed to enable brands and influencers everywhere to rate their video content against competitors, categories, and peers to see how they stack up in terms of views and engagement. The ER7 metric measures a video or publisher’s engagement rate benchmarked across all content (e.g. 2.2x more engaging than average)

#5 Argos – Christmas Yetis

In first place with an ER7 of 5.4x is “The Argos Christmas Yetis” Featuring five fun, furry and fast yetis, this Christmas ad promotes the British catalogue retailer’s Fast Track Same Day delivery and in-store collection. Since the products in their colorful winter wonderland include Beats, Star Wars, and GoPro, American shoppers would feel right at home.

#6 Tesco – Bring It On

In second place with an ER7 of 4.8x is “Tesco | Bring It On.” According to the British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer, “It’s never too early for mince pies…” I know that mince pies aren’t a big tradition over here, but even American women will be able to relate to their British counterpart, who has already started planning and preparing for Christmas. As she says, “Christmas. Bring it on.”

#7 eBay UK – Survive the Disco

In third place with an ER7 of 4.6 x is “eBay Christmas Advert 2016: Survive the Disco.” Okay, so some might argue that eBay is an American brand, but you’ve got to admit that whoever these Yanks hired to create ads for them in merry old England know what it takes to #SurviveTheDisco.

#8 Barbour – The Snowman and Snowdog

And even though it only has an ER7 of #3.2x, an honorable mention goes to “The Snowman and The Snowdog – Barbour Christmas.” This year, the Snowman and the Snowdog are taking a trip down memory lane, as they prepare to celebrate a traditional #BarbourChristmas.

It’s worth noting that the Marks & Spenser Christmas ad has an ER7 of 1.8x, while the John Lewis Christmas Advert has an ER7 of 1.4x, the Waitrose Christmas ad has an ER7 of 1.1x, and the Sainsbury’s Christmas Advert has an ER7 of 0.7x. And the Argos Christmas advert has a V7 of 1.3 million views, while the eBay Christmas advert has a V7 of only 13,300 views, the Tesco Christmas advert has a V7 of only 8,500 views, and the Barbour Christmas ad has a v7 of only 7,500 views.

So, you can leverage paid video advertising to put your content in front of the right audience, but you need to create great content in order to get an above average engagement rate from that target audience. And the opposite is true, too. You need to create great content, but you also need to promote your content. And that’s true on both sides of the pond. Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

The Christmas 2016 advertising battle begins

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionJohn Lewis has finally released its Christmas advert. But what else is out there?

The battle of the Christmas adverts has begun, with retailers hoping shoppers will jingle all the way to the tills. But how will they capture our hearts and open our wallets this year and which will become our favourite?

In the run up to Christmas, UK retailers are expected to spend £5.6bn on advertising, according to Advertising Association and WarcData.

John Lewis, which launched its advert on Thursday, said it had spent a “broadly similar” amount to the £7m it spent on last year’s somewhat melancholy “Man on the Moon” advert.

This year, the retail giant said it thought the public needed something more upbeat.

Animal magic

Image copyright PA Image caption A cast of CGI wildlife animals, including Hallie the hedgehog, feature in the advert

John Lewis’s customer director Craig Inglis said: “2016 has certainly been quite a year, so we hope our advert will make people smile. It really embraces a sense of fun and magic, reminding everyone what it feels to give the perfect gift at Christmas”.

The two-minute advert tells the story of Bridget, a little girl who loves to jump, and her dog, Buster the boxer.

After her parents hide a trampoline for her in their garden on Christmas Eve, a magical night time world comes to life with a cast of CGI wildlife animals – including Hallie the hedgehog, Sid the squirrel, Betsey the badger and foxes Olivia and Otto.

Gathering thousands of views on YouTube, the advert was met with mixed reactions. Linda Holden commented: “Anyone lucky enough to have had a Boxer in their lives will just love this”, while the more wary PersianPkmn said: “I would not want to be on a trampoline with a hedgehog just saying :/”.

On Twitter, Barry O’Reilly’s photo of his “Welsh version” of the advert – showing a cow on a trampoline – certainly did make people smile.

Image copyright Twitter

But not everyone is happy, with some asking why Bridget’s parents – and not Father Christmas – are seen putting up the trampoline.

A spokesman for John Lewis said that Bridget’s parents wanted to give her something special, that they knew she’d like, adding: “We’re sure Santa visited Bridget earlier in the night.”

John Lewis, a computer science teacher from Virginia, US, whose Twitter handle @johnlewis is often understandably confused with the retail store’s, suggested Santa may have been running late, dropped off the trampoline and asked Dad for a little help.

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionVaults: Who are the band on the John Lewis advert?

Meanwhile, bookmakers Coral are already tipping the ad’s theme song, a cover version of Randy Crawford’s One Day I’ll Fly Away performed by British band Vaults, for the Christmas number one. Lead singer Blythe Pepino said it was a “truly incredible experience” recording the song with a 70 piece choir and 66 piece orchestra.

The advert is not to be confused with a video which went viral last week featuring an A-Level student’s homage to the John Lewis Christmas advert.

Smooth talkers

Image caption An overnight bag, with the voice of Ewan McGregor, lures shoppers with his ‘masculine physique’

For a third year, Debenhams is sticking with its Found It campaign – relying on the voices of a slew of celebrities, including Ewan McGregor, Billie Piper and Jennifer Saunders, to help people find the perfect present for their loved ones.

McGregor, the voice of an overnight bag, waxes lyrical about his “strong, masculine physique”, while Piper poses as a bra who has “got it all”.

Feel good

Image caption Boots filmed the makeover of Christmas workers, such as this nurse, which it pampered as a ‘thank you’

Real people take the centre stage for Boots. The chemist filmed the makeover of 45 women, whom it picked to pamper because they usually work over Christmas.

About half a million women sacrifice their Christmas Day to support their communities, whether as paramedics, firefighters or nurses, according to the TUC union.

Boots says “as a big thank you”, it wanted to give some of them an early Christmas present.

Though the ad is set to Kylie Minogue’s version of Rozalla’s Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good), not everybody is thrilled the advert focuses on women workers only. TUC figures show that more than 900,000 people overall worked on Christmas Day last year.

Christmas chuckles

Image caption Asda’s adverts show a series of humorous Christmas dilemmas

Asda’s line of attack is on all fronts – with not one advert, but a series of short adverts by advertising giants Saatchi and Saatchi showcasing its food, wine and clothing lines.

Showing a series of Christmas dilemmas with gentle humour, the supermarket chain says it can offer “Christmas made better”.

In one, a young girl dressed in white tights and sparkly shoes hovers over a tempting puddle but dodges it after a “don’t you dare” look from her mother. “Toys worth behaving for,” says the voiceover.

Twitter user Chantelle says it’s her favourite so far, but it hasn’t resonated with everyone. Tina tweets: “Not splashing in a puddle to be rewarded by a toy. Implying puddles are naughty. That’s sad.”

In another tweet, Claire Underwood points out: “Why do you think Santa wears boots!?!”

Another spotted an omission in the ad series. “Only 1 person says #Please. Come on asda please set an example #Manners,” pleads Ruth Parrot.

Racing heartbeats

Image caption Argos dispatches speed skating yetis for those who ‘just can’t wait’ for Christmas

In a bid to set heartbeats racing, rather than to tug at heartstrings, Argos’s upbeat advert features 8ft-tall, furry, colourful, ice skating yetis who race to deliver presents.

The advert stars five semi-professional ice skaters, including Peter Hallam (in orange), twice British figure skating champion and holder of five international gold medals. It was shot on a purpose-built skating track in the centre of Warsaw in Poland.

Special effects experts from Animated Extras, who have previously worked on James Bond films, developed the state-of-the-art costumes which each cost £30,000 to create.

Showcasing its fast-track, same-day delivery, Argos is catering for those who “just can’t wait” for Christmas.

They were certainly first off the blocks for Twitter user Adam Raymont who said on Sunday: “I’ve just watched my first Christmas advert of 2016 .. well done @argos you are the winner”.

James Corden is the SINGER in the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert

There’s no denying that 2016 has been pretty bloody terrible for a whole load of reasons, and it’s no wonder that everyone is wishing the remaining few weeks away in the hope that next year will be a tad better.

Please, universe.

So when John Lewis released their Christmas advert last week, the whole world/the entire heat office shed a tear because it’s so beautiful and light-hearted and EXACTLY what we needed after a certain presidential election.

Buster the Boxer has only been a thing for five days, but his love for bouncing on a trampoline has attracted almost 15 million views on YouTube.

TBF, he bounces like a complete pro.

And now there is some serious brand competition.

Have you seen the Waitrose one yet?


Sainsbury’s is the latest to start dealing out all the feels with their advert, telling the story of a father who works so hard that he doesn’t have enough time to spend with his wife and kids over the Christmas holidays.

But wait – why does that singer sound SO familiar? Where have we heard those dulcet British tones before? And why do we keep getting a weird urge to go and watch some Carpool Karaoke?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s actually JAMES CORDEN.

Yes, the funny man/actor/presenter who is living it up in LA driving around everyone from J-Lo to Michelle Obama is the voice of the Christmas ad.

We’re liking the jingle.

Even though it does sound a LITTLE bit like that guy on the Hive advert who goes on about controlling your heating from your phone, we are kinda loving it.

As James sings about finding the perfect present for your loved ones, we see the animated dad struggling as he tries to work out how to be in two places at once, torn between working his cartoon butt off and hanging out with his kids.

And it’s made even harder by the fact that there are train delays thanks to a lone snowflake on the track (ahem – SERIOUSLY relating to this bit, thanks Sainsbury’s).

But – lightbulb moment! – he realises that he is an actual toy maker, and that he can make multiple toy versions of himself to do his work so that he can get home and spend time with the fam.


Even if that typing monkey is slightly terrifying because it reminds us of the evil one in Toy Story 3.

Once it’s all in place, life becomes wonderful and he gets to dance around the living room with his wife and make stuff with his kids, and loads of other families come together because they all realise that actually the greatest gift you can give your family is YOU.

No, we’re not crying, YOU’RE crying.

Sainsbury’s has stepped up its battle with John Lewis to be the UK’s most popular Christmas ad with an animated West End musical-style story with James Corden on vocals.

The supermarket will launch its three-minute ad, which took seven weeks to animate using hitech 3D-printing techniques never previously used in the UK, on Monday, making it the last of the major retailers to kick off its festive campaign.

The upbeat film features the story of busy dad Dave who comes up with the plan of creating toy replicas of himself to stand in for him at work so that he can spend time with his family over Christmas. It will launch on social media and air for the first time on TV during I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here on ITV.

With increasing numbers of people watching programmes online or via catch-up, or recorded services where they can skip ads, companies are having to battle hard to grab attention during the busiest time of the year.

As well as Sainsbury’s, which beat John Lewis to be the most popular ad last year with 30m views of its Mog film on YouTube, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and even Aldi have short-story films this year.

The Sainsbury’s ad, which retains the tagline “Christmas is for Sharing” used in previous years, will have a charitable link. Profits from a range of merchandise, including a gingerbread version of Dave and an animation kit, will go towards family accommodation at Great Ormond Street hospital for children.

Sarah Kilmartin, who is in charge of broadcast communications at Sainsbury’s, said the company did not have a specific fundraising target but raised £1.4m for Save the Children last year from merchandise related to its Christmas ad and customer donations.

She would not reveal how much Sainsbury’s had spent on the ad, but last year the company spent almost £22m on advertising over Christmas.

Directed by Sam Fell, an alumni of Wallace and Gromit maker Aardman Animations who went on to make comedy zombie animation ParaNorman, the film does not feature any Sainsbury’s products directly. However, unlike in the three previous years, when the supermarket ads were based on the Judith Kerr character Mog, a heartwarming tale of friendship on the battlefield, and a mash-up of Christmas home videos, Sainsbury’s has found a way to link this year’s ad to its stores.

Animators created tiny versions of Sainsbury’s prosecco, Christmas cards and homewares to fill the houses of the multi-racial mix of families who are in Dave’s world.

Fell said work on creating and planning the film began in March and was only completed last week. It took 16 weeks to build the sets and create the 26 puppets used in the film. All the puppets were built by Mackinnon and Saunders in Manchester, the company that makes most of the puppets for Tim Burton’s animated films, such as Frankenweenie. The puppets’ faces, 1,700 of which were used to create the film, were all printed by 3D Print Bureau in Stoke-on-Trent, a company which usually makes prototypes for engineers or items for medical use.

Corden’s song, which will be released for free via a partnership with Spotify, was written by Bret McKenzie, the Oscar-winning songwriter and comedian from Flight of the Conchords.

Iceland Christmas advert: James Corden leads campaign to get watchdog ban lifted

Celebrities including James Corden and Bill Bailey have joined a campaign to lift the TV ban on Iceland’s Christmas ad about the plight of orangutans.

They joined the public outcry following a watchdog’s refusal to allow the 90 second weepie to air on mainstream channels on grounds it was too political.

Since Mirror Online revealed it had been barred by Clearcast, a petition launched on has been signed by almost 650,000 people.

The poignant animation has been seen by millions on YouTube and other social media channels and Late Late Show host Corden shared the link on Twitter and said: “This commercial was banned from TV for being too political. I think everyone should see it.”

Comedian and musician Bailey tweeted: “I am adding my voice to many who want this to be seen far and wide.”

James wants to see the ban lifted (Image: REX/)

Clearcast which gives the thumbs up to ads on behalf of the four major broadcasters, said it could not give the ad the green light as it breached Broadcast Code of Advertising Practice (BCAP) rules.

It said: “Clearcast and the broadcasters have to date been unable to clear this Iceland ad because we are concerned that it doesn’t comply with the political rules of the BCAP code.”

The cartoon, first created for environment group Greenpeace, was rebranded for Iceland as it reflected the frozen food store’s pledge to remove palm oil from all its own label products by the end of the year.

But it is the mini film’s association with Greenpeace – seen to be a political organisation – that has led to the ban.

Despite Clearcast’s stand, Brits are calling for a U-turn in an online petition started by Mark Topps, a 30-year-old care home manager of Chelmsford, Essex.

He said “I watched the ad with my daughter who’s five and she really like it.

Iceland advert

“I didn’t see it as political at all and I just wanted to raise awareness for the next generation of deforestation and extinction – that’s why I stared it.

“Overall, I’d like to see that advert on TV.”

The animation called Rang-Tan tells how the destruction of rainforests is having a devastating effect on the creatures through the eyes of a baby orangutan.

In the film, the sad animal is found wrecking a girl’s bedroom and when asked why, the camera zooms through the young animals’ eyes to tell the story of how humans have come into her rainforest home and decimated it for palm oil to use in products like shampoo and chocolate.

Scenes show a digger ripping up trees as the baby orangutan flees for her life and she tells the girl: “There’s a human in my forest and I don’t know what to do.

Iceland Ad banned Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will start in8Cancel Play now

“He took away my mother and I’m scared he’ll take me too.”

The emotive film ends with the words “Dedicated to the 25 orangutans we lose every day.”

Growing demand for controversial palm oil used in food production, cosmetics and biodiesel is devastating tropical rainforests across South East Asia and has put the future of creatures like orangutans at risk.

Neil Hayes, Iceland’s marketing director said: “We were devastated when we found out the advert wasn’t going to be approved, however we’re so pleased that the world has now been able to see our important message. There’s no doubt that Rang-Tan has well and truly captured the heart of the nation.

“Our aim with the advert was to highlight the impact that deforestation through the unsustainable sourcing of palm oil is having on orangutans and the environment they live in, which has been achieved by the outstanding response of the general public on social media and through the petition.”

Sainsbury’s Christmas Advert 2016: 5 things you need to know about ‘The Greatest Gift’

Today Sainsbury’s unleashed its highly-anticipated Christmas advert.

The festive musical style ad tells the tale of a hard working dad who creates toy versions of himself so he can be with his children at Christmas.

The advert follows on from last year’s popular Mog the Cat film, which triumphed over John Lewis in the YouTube ratings battle and was hailed as Sainsbury’s most successful Christmas ad ever.

Back this year with another feelgood festive offering, here are five things we learned from watching the Sainsbury’s advert today.

The singer is James Corden

The Late Show presenter James Corden has lent his voice to an infectious musical number called ‘The Greatest Gift For Christmas is Me’. A spokesperson for the retailer said that Corden felt like a ‘natural fit’ to sing alongside the advert. As well as a regular singing stint on his popular Carpool Karaoke series, Corden has also previously recorded a duet on Kylie Minogue’s 2015 album ‘Kylie Christmas’.

James Corden is known for his Carpool Karaoke videos (The Late Late Show with James Corden)

The song was written by Bret McKenzie

‘The Greatest Gift For Christmas is Me’ will probably be in your head all December, and it’s no wonder – it was written by one half of the Grammy Award-winning musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords. McKenzie also won the 2012 Oscar for best original song in The Muppets.

Sainsbury’s Christmas ad – in pictures

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1/8 Sainsbury’s has unveiled it’s Christmas advert for 2016

3/8 Dave creates toy versions of himself so he can spend time with his family at Christmas

5/8 Over 180 people worked on the production, from conception through to final film

8/8 This is the first time full colour 3D printed faces have ever been used in animation production in the UK

Putting together the advert was no easy feat. According to Sainsbury’s, the intricate sets and puppets took 16 weeks to build while approximately 10-12 frames were captured per hour of filming in the studio, which is half a second of final footage. More than 180 people worked on the production, from conception through to final film and the film marks the first time full colour 3D printed faces have ever been used in animation production in the UK.

It’s directed by Sam Fell

Award-winning Fell is best known for his animated children’s films, including Flushed Away, ParaNorman and Tales of Despereaux.

It’s for a good cause

Sainsbury’s has teamed up with Great Ormond Street Hospital to raise funds for their Children’s Charity, and all of the money raised by the campaign will go towards providing accommodation for families of children at the hospital. Sainsbury’s will be selling specially created Gingerbread ‘Dave’ characters for £1 and a film animation kit for £5, to raise money for the charity. From 21st November, customers will also have the option to make a 20p donation at the till, or more if specifically requested, with all the proceeds going straight to the charity.

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