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Sunday Surprise: advertising the Christmas spirit, 1914

[ by Charles Cameron — I’m with the British Legion, remembering the fallen, avid for peace — and not averse to chocolate ]

Apparently there’s some controversy over a recent Sainsbury’s ad. Here’s the background on the ad:

and the ad itself:


For good measure, here’s the “making of”:


Given how commercial a holiday Christmas has become, I’d have to say Sainsbury’s — the British supermarket chain — is doing us all a favor, believers and otherwise, by bringing our attention back to the Prince of Peace, in spirit if not by name.

What do you think?

Do you perhaps agree with Rev. Nicholas Clews, Priest-in-Charge at St Margaret of Antioch, Thornbury, and St James the Great, Woodhall, that the ad:

misses the point about the significance of what happened on Christmas Day 1914 [which] was that a chance for peace was missed. It’s a tragedy. For a day: those soldiers realised they were human beings, and they shared that humanity. That’s a tremendous message for Christmas; but the significance of Christmas is that it’s not about a day, it’s about life.

— or with the contributor at Forbes, perhaps, who wonders if it’s even an ad at all?

There’s still an even bigger question to ask, though: What does any of this have to do with selling stuff, which is, after all, Sainsbury’s overwhelming top priority during the most important shopping season of the year?

2 Responses to “Sunday Surprise: advertising the Christmas spirit, 1914”

  1. Grurray Says:

    The worst of the war was to come. Behind them was the old order, and ahead of them was destruction.
    This was a brief reprieve. It was a tragedy that it didn’t last, but then nothing ever does.
    The real meaning is in a world full of the impermanence of all things, the only significance is found in the eternal. Stick with that and the transitions will be more accepting.

  2. Charles Cameron Says:

    Hi Grurray:
    Agreed — yet if the eternal is richly embued with hope and charity, still one should strive to bring those qualities to bear within the ephemeral, no?

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