The news may be all doom and gloom at the beginning of this holiday season, but according to research by supermarket retailer Tesco, 87% of people claim that Christmas brings them joy, and over a third (36%) say that 2022’s celebrations are more important to them than ever before, with 26% looking forward to the holiday more than usual this year.
It is no secret that after a few years of uncertain Christmases when we were all unsure if we will get to see our families, months of political turmoil in the country and beyond, and worries over gas and food prices, the mood of the nation might not be the most festive. Regardless, the Christmas lights in London have switched on and it seems that what we all need now is a brave dollop of holiday spirit. The opening words of the supermarket’s Christmas ad for this year - ‘Britain, there’s a joy shortage’ - are reflective of exactly that.
The film comes in a 60-second version and is set to the soundtrack of ‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe, directed by MJZ production’s Fredrik Bond and developed by creative director Christine Turner of BBH. To the background of the epic track, the spot sends a promise to the nation’s public - to bring the Christmas party back, the way we all know and love it. Be it with pigs in blankets, mince pies as the first indicators of the holiday season, scrapping bedtimes, or bringing the kids and adults tables together, Tesco is the Christmas party this year, and is determined to remind the UK why joy is so important.
In the official press release for the campaign, Alessandra Bellini, chief customer officer at Tesco, said “It’s very important that our seasonal campaigns reflect how our customers genuinely feel and what we know they are looking for. We understand that it is a tough time at the moment with everyone’s finances under pressure, but we also know that people are looking forward to Christmas – in fact, our research shows that there is even more excitement around it than usual. This is why we decided to officially stand up for joy this Christmas.”
Creative director Christine Turner explained that the initial brief on the campaign was about “helping you afford a joyful Christmas”, with great emphasis on affordability, as a pillar of the brand and carrying special importance today. This is where, for BBH and Tesco, the foolproof formula of the Christmas party came in. “Our main agenda was to guarantee joy,” says Christine. The message ultimately came down to reassuring the public that even though happiness might currently be under threat, the supermarket retailer can genuinely help everyone have ‘the holiday they deserve’. “In the film, Tesco champions the different policies that will bring everyone a joyful day. Tesco forming their own ‘Christmas party’ to campaign for joy is what truly nailed it,” continues the creative director.
“It’s very rare to get what you need from the get go,” adds Christine reminiscing on the beginning stages of the project. “As nice as that would be. Ideas take time and often evolve. But with this one, as soon as I saw it, I knew it was going to be great. An amazing vehicle to say all our affordability messaging in a really entertaining way.”
But the greatness of the idea is only one side of the coin - the other would be the research that informed and cemented it, due to which the campaign garnered the strived for success, despite the fact that “anything leaning into politics could swing either way,” as Christine explains.
According to BBH, it was paramount for Tesco to acknowledge the mood in the right tone and way. “As the UK’s leading grocer, they are the barometer of the nation,” says Christine. “It’d be tone deaf to not acknowledge the current situation. In a crisis, people still want to be entertained, but it can’t just be for entertainment’s sake. It needs to be backed up by genuine help from Tesco. Which is what the Christmas party policies are here to do.”
When it came to choosing the scenes that would translate the relationship between consumers and the Tesco brand, it was also important to hand pick them in a way that resonates with audiences to the fullest. For example, the confusion around bin day. “Those moments are super relatable and insightful, and combined with help from Tesco, it gave us the perfect mix!” Christine ends on a joyful note, reminding everyone that regardless if we’re in a tough period, or on top of the world, there truly “ain’t no party like the Christmas party.”