The war on morality: Sainsburys Christmas advert 2014

Sainsburys’ official Christmas 2014 advert has recently been released and it has caused some controversy on whether it’s morally ‘ok’ to use times of war for profit gains.

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The advert was made in partnership with The Royal British Legion and depicts the extraordinary story of 1914 where British and German soldiers put down their guns, arose from the trenches and played in a friendly football match. All in the favour of Christmas. The famous truce shown in the advert emphasises how Christmas brings everyone together, including people from different cultures and even people with conflicting views. Just like the soldiers of WW1. If you haven’t seen it yet (where have you been?) you can see it here.

I personally think the advert has been made well and tells a meaningful story about compassion and celebrating Christmas with everyone. However, many people have taken offence to the depiction and have shared their opinions of the advert on YouTube comments and Twitter hashtag.

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Even though my first reaction to seeing the advert was positive and definitely a ‘goose-bump’ moment I can see where the people with negative views are coming from. The advert is promoting Sainsbury’s at the end of the day and the use of such a rememberable time could be seen as crossing a moral line. However, I do not think the advert glorifies war or down plays the importance of the real soldiers doing their part in WW1.

Many of the YouTube comments have grown into debates as other users are getting involved to either defend Sainsbury’s or agree with the offence-takers. One user made the point that big Hollywood films, such as Saving Private Ryan, use times of war and don’t necessarily emphasise the true environment of what it’s like at war and these films make money from it as well. So is the problem simply against advertisements using such content or perhaps against supermarkets trying to play on the customers emotions as a way of making money. It is also important to bear in mind that the chocolate bar featured in the advert is on sale at Sainsburys for £1 and all profits from the sales of this will go to The Royal British Legion. I think this could possibly be another case of ‘there’s always one that’s not happy’ but in this case there’s quite a few unhappy viewers.

What do you think? Love the ad, hate the ad, not too sure? Let me know.

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