Sainsbury’s is the third largest supermarket chain in the United Kingdom. For this upcoming Christmas, they have released a special commercial. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, the retailers partnered up with The Royal British Legion to make a commercial based on true events that occurred in December 1914.
The ad takes place in December 1914, just four months after the beginning of WWI. The movement of the war is already over. Soldiers are now entrenched and spend most of their time hiding and sleeping in the mud. But one event changed the first months of the war. According to historical reports, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, soldiers on the Western front from Germany, the British Empire and France made an unofficial truce where they could meet in No Man’s Land, exchange souvenirs and small presents, sing songs and even play football – or soccer as you call it in North America.
In early December, soldiers from both sides stopped the fighting for a short while to rest and recover their dead. In some areas, they even exchanged conversations. Mid-December, German soldiers started to decorate their trenches with candles and small Christmas trees and ended by singing Christmas carol on the 24th – such as “O Tannenbaum” (O Christmas Tree) and “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” (Silent Night). British and French soldiers sang these songs in their language in response which led to an uncommon moment of peace.
This moment is well-known and even led to a few movies. The ad by Sainsbury’s used information about the “Christmas truce” event and partnered with the Royal British Legion, to make this ad as precise and real as possible.
This ad depicts a true and emotional event that happened 100 years ago. Even if the Great War was one of the deadliest wars with 16 million dead, human behaviour and sympathy led people to make a short truce to exchange with an enemy that they never saw and get back their dead to give them a proper burial instead of a mortar hole in No Man’s Land.
This video relies on something that everyone can do, even the men at war: share. It doesn’t matter your religion, your gender, or your race – sharing is one thing that we can all do at least for Christmas. The chocolate bar featured in the 3-minute film is available in every Sainsbury’s for £1 and all profits will be donated to The Royal British Legion.
To me, this ad is almost a documentary to educate younger people about that period of history and to make everyone remember that Christmas is about sharing no matter what the circumstances. You have one month to keep that in mind!