Penny’s Christmas ad offers no escapism from life’s challenges

The German discount supermarket chain pulls no punches in its depiction of society’s divisions, though ends with a message of hope

Penny is building a reputation for creating Christmas ads that come with a dose of emotional devastation, after last year’s ad The Wish tackled some of the regrets and sadness of the pandemic (and picked up a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions for Film Craft earlier this year).

Audiences will therefore likely brace themselves for what this year brings from the brand, and they are right to be trepidatious about this new spot – also from ad agency Serviceplan Campaign – which offers up a bleak picture of the challenges facing society today.

Taking in the cost of living crisis, generational divides, climate change, racism, the war in Ukraine, and post-pandemic fears, it feels like a rundown of all of 2022’s woes in the space of four minutes.

Happily though, the ad – which is deftly directed by Anorak Film’s Seb Edwards – ends with a bit of optimism. The link between the brand and the ad’s message might feel slightly tenuous – “At our Penny markets, all kinds of people come together,” explains Marcus Haus, divisional marketing manager at Penny – but it’s hard to deny its concluding wisdom.

Agency: Serviceplan Campaign
Creative Directors: Moritz Dornig, Matthias Schuster
Copywriter: Katharina King
Production Company: Anorak Film
Director: Seb Edwards
DOP: Kasper Tuxen
Production Design: Kave Quinn