James Corden provides the soundtrack for epic Sainsbury’s Christmas ad

Sainsbury’s has gone big once again for its Christmas ad, pairing charming animation with a witty song composed by Bret McKenzie, of Flight of the Conchords fame, which is performed by James Corden. But will it top last year’s Mog spot?

Sainsburys Chrismas ad 2016

Today marks the release of the Sainsbury’s Christmas ad, which this year comes in at over three minutes long, and features an epic animation that aims to highlight the importance of friends and family at Christmas (yeah, I know they all do that, but stick with it, this is a pretty lovely ad).

The film tells the story of Dave, a hard-working dad who is struggling to cope with the twin demands of family and work in the run up to Christmas. To solve the problem, he hits upon an unusual solution….

This is the last major spot for Sainsbury’s to be created by AMV BBDO, after the brand parted company with the agency earlier this year, ending a 40-year relationship. The brand has set the bar high with its Christmas ads in recent years, especially in last year’s film starring Mog the cat, but here AMV has created another big note to go out on, with the ad featuring state of the art animation techniques from director Sam Fell of Passion Pictures, alongside a golden combination in Corden and McKenzie.

Sainsburys Chrismas ad 2016
Sainsburys Chrismas ad 2016

The song, which follows McKenzie’s Oscar win in 2012 for the best original song in The Muppets, combines with Fell’s charming characters to bring Dave’s story to life. Its lyrics feature many relatable details about the struggle to balance life and work, as well as some choice references to topical news (mainly rail delays), all wrapped up in a very catchy package. (This combo of a witty song and lovely animation does bring to mind Pot Noodle’s fab 2010 ad A Pot Noeldle Christmas, but this is no bad thing.)

In terms of quibbles, the whole cloning part of story is a wee bit confusing (and is cloning really an answer to work-life balance?!), and at three-and-a-half minutes long, Sainsbury’s is asking a fair bit from its audience to see it through. But these are minor complaints in what is overall a beautifully crafted (more on that in our making-of post tomorrow) and extremely likeable piece of advertising. And with John Lewis delivering an okay but not terribly exciting film this year, Sainsbury’s is certainly giving them a run for their money.

Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative directors: Toby Allen, Jim Hilson
Creatives: Richard McGrann, Andy Clough
Production company: Passion Pictures
Director: Sam Fell
Puppet makers: Mackinnon & Saunders
Production designer: Andy Farago, Clockwork Frog
Sound design: Jungle

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