'Quintessentially British' with 'unexpected humour': PR pros react to Waitrose Christmas campaign

Waitrose has launched its Christmas campaign, which includes a heart-warming film about villagers snowed in at a pub that PRWeek's Christmas panel describes as "quintessentially British" with "unexpected humour".

'Quintessentially British' with 'unexpected humour': PR pros react to Waitrose Christmas campaign

The 90-second film, set in The Tanner Hill Inn near Richmond, Yorkshire, debuted yesterday (12 November) during The X Factor on ITV and across social media.

Shot completely in black and white, it tells the story of local villagers sharing Christmas dinner at the pub after being snowed in. According to social media monitoring tool Brandwatch, the film has been mentioned 800 times across social media since launching, with 98 per cent of comments judged to be positive. 

The film, which was created by advertising agency Adam & Eve/DDB, is set to 'Carol of the Bells' by composer Mykola Leontovych and rearranged by musician and composer Guy Farley.

Waitrose said inspiration for the film was taken from the Yorkshire pub, which has been snowed in 50 times since 2005. 

But what does the PRWeek Christmas panel think?

Nik Govier, co-founder of Unity, said: "It's a brave move for a grocer to promote its wares in black and white and I'm not quite sure it works. The concept is powerful and it makes me like Waitrose but it doesn't make me lust for the food, which is a shame. Lack of colour aside, the ad feels true to the brand, with the focus on community and the simple joys of cooking and eating together."

David Fraser, founder of Ready10, added: "This ad is charming, heart-warming, well-made, high-quality and quintessentially British - much like Waitrose itself. Out of all the ads, it's probably got the strongest pay-off at the end. While the Sainsbury's ad made me smile, I think this is the first film that has actually made me laugh.

"You could be critical and say this is an ad that is aimed squarely and exclusively at Waitrose's core customer - middle England, a little older and families - but they clearly know their market and have designed an ad with them in mind."

James Herring, managing partner at Taylor Herring, said: "The Waitrose ad is one of my favourites this year. Brilliant, and with unexpected humour in the final pay-off."

Influencer Christmas

To support the campaign's theme of 'eating together', Waitrose has launched a competition on its website through which five people can win a feast for their community group.

The supermarket is also putting tables together in its cafes to encourage people to eat together, and has invited influencers and bloggers to a special supper club to further celebrate this idea. 

Waitrose has also created a book written by the second Children's Laureate, Anne Fine, which was inspired by the film. The book is available in store and online for £5, with 50p from every book sold donated to anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust. Parent company John Lewis also released a storybook adaptation of its Moz the Monster Christmas campaign. 

Meanwhile, an additional series of 20-second films featuring the retailer's Christmas food range will break on TV and video-on-demand services on 16 November, with the line "At Christmas, there's nothing quite like Waitrose."

Martin George, Waitrose customer director, said: "Food plays an essential role in bringing people together. When we have the opportunity to eat with others, we can enjoy great food and feel closer to those we share the experience with. As our ad depicts, eating together is a way to share not just food but friendship and community spirit."

Additional reporting provided by PRWeek sister title Campaign

Read next: Which retailers' Christmas campaigns are carckers and which have proved turkeys?

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