Creative in association withGear Seven

AMV BBDO Release Sainsbury’s Christmas Film

Advertising Agency
London, UK
Oscar winner Kevin MacDonald shoots close-to-home ‘Christmas In A Day’ documentary

Christmas In A Day, a brand new documentary film from Oscar®-winning director Kevin Macdonald (Marley, The Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void), brings to life how Britain really celebrates Christmas. The film will premiere on YouTube on 29th November. 

Sainsbury’s has supported the film since its inception, and in a departure for the brand, will devote TV spots to screen a series of film trailers promoting the film, in addition to its traditional food focused Christmas advertising campaign.  The first of these trailers is a 3” 30’ extended preview of the film that will air on ITV1 on Wednesday 13th November, taking the entire primetime centre ad break during Coronation Street – the first time that a whole commercial break has been secured during Coronation Street.  A further two 40’’ and two 60” trailers will air between 13th November and 21st December.


Macdonald’s film, produced by Ridley Scott Associates and Scott Free London, captures a true look at what Christmas in Britain is really like today. The film is comprised of real footage filmed by real people, in the manner of Macdonald’s acclaimed film for YouTube, LIFE IN A DAY, which has received more than 8 million views.  The result, CHRISTMAS IN A DAY, is a beautiful and moving document created from over 400 hours of festive footage submitted by people from all over the UK.

The launch of the film on YouTube will follow a special premiere screening at BAFTA in London when Macdonald will present the finished film to the filmmakers who have contributed footage.

Mark Given, Head of Brand Communications, Sainsbury’s commented: “For Sainsbury’s, this started out as an experiment that we hoped would reveal something interesting about the way we celebrate Christmas in Britain.  When we saw the film, we realised it had far exceeded our expectations – we believe this film is something very special indeed and I am proud that Sainsbury’s has been involved in this project from the outset.  By having the film as our lead Christmas activity, I hope we’ll encourage millions of people across the UK to watch the story of Britain’s CHRISTMAS IN A DAY."

Film director Kevin Macdonald added: “When we made LIFE IN A DAY we asked people around the globe to record their lives on a single ordinary day.  When we were cutting that film we talked about what it might be like if we chose a day that already had significance to people. The result is Christmas in a Day. Christmas is the one time in the whole year when ordinary British life is suspended. We have time to contemplate life and be with those we love. 

“I was overwhelmed by the creativity and enthusiasm of the people up and down the country, from every walk of life, who filmed their Christmas and shared it with us. I feel that the finished film (which everyone will be able to see on 29 November) stands out for many reasons – it is funny, moving, often beautifully shot and above all truthful.  I am immensely thankful to everyone who took part and to Sainsbury’s for making the film possible.” 

Richard Arscott Managing Director at AMV BBDO said: “Collaborating on this new Christmas project with Sainsbury’s and Kevin Macdonald has been a really exciting journey, from conception to seeing the finished production.  We are very proud to have been a part of the creation of a film that so brilliantly captures the real British Christmas.”


Project:    Christmas in a Day
Client name & job title:    Mark Given – Head of Brand Communications
Julia Foye – Campaign Manager
Brief (in one line):    Demonstrate to the British public that Sainsbury’s understand Christmas better than anyone else
Creative Agency:    AMV BBDO
Creative Director:    Tony Strong & Michael Durban
Copywriter:    Phil Martin & Mike Hannett
Art Director:    Colin Jones 
Agency Planner:    Craig Mawdsley, Sophie Lewis, Cat Wiles
Agency Account Man:    Gemma Findlay 
Agency Producer:    Suzy MacGregor 
Media Agency:    Omnicom Media Agency, PHD
Media Planner:    Charlotte Wells
Production Company:    RSA Films and Scott Free Films
Production Co. Producer:    Debbie Garvey
Post-production Company:    The Lab
Audio Post-production:    Wave
Exposure (e.g. Youtube, TV, press):    TV, YouTube, Press, Online Display, Social, PR