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Michael Gracey Directs Sainsbury's On-Stage 'Big Night' Christmas Ad

Production Company
London, UK
Editors' Choice: The Greatest Showman director works with Wieden+Kennedy London on a spot set to a '90s New Radicals classic
Sainsbury's has launched its 2018 Christmas ad 'The Big Night'. Created by Wieden+Kennedy London and directed by The Greatest Showman director Michael Gracey - who is repped for commercials by Partizan - the spot sees a group of children come together and take centre stage.

Depicting a school Christmas show – a familiar event for many families – the film follows a young girl dressed as a star nervously stepping on stage before stunning the audience, including her emotional mother, with a stellar rendition of the New Radicals’ classic nineties song, You Get What You Give. She's supported by a cast of children playing a host of weird and wonderful Christmas characters. Get to know them better in the super cute behind the scenes film below. 

The film does spark resemblance to a recent John Lewis and Waitrose campaign. Released in September and directed by Dougal Wilson, that spot showed a school rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. In an exclusive screening last Friday in London, the brand's head of broadcast marketing Laura Boothby played down any fears surrounding that, saying that the idea is "right for Sainsbury's" and explaining that every school school across the UK will be hosting some kind of play over the festive period. 

In the launch press release, she adds: “This year, we have set out to create an advert that captures the passion, emotion and excitement of the festive season, in a setting that’s familiar to us all – no matter how old we are.

“Customers tell us that what matters most to them at Christmas is spending time together with family and friends and making it truly special for them – and that’s what giving all you’ve got is about.

“The school show is a flagship Christmas moment for many: the evenings spent frantically learning lines, the inventive costumes – the whole family truly plays a part. This made it the perfect setting to bring our Christmas message to life – watching little ones give all they’ve got, for their loved ones watching on.”

Director Gracey comments: “I was honoured to be part of bringing Sainsbury’s new Christmas campaign to life. Fuelled by the passion and talent of an incredible cast and crew, we set out to craft an ad that embodies the joy and imagination of the festive season. We hope it’s a message that resonates with people from all walks of life this Christmas."

Laura adds: “We’re honoured to have worked with Michael Gracey and his team this year’s advert. Michael’s credentials from The Greatest Showman and his track record for putting on a real spectacle meant that he was the perfect fit to help us bring the idea to life and encourage the cast to give all they’ve got on stage.”

The film features almost 60 talented children from across the country, some as young as six years old. The film also captures genuine emotional reactions from the audience, as some of the cast’s parents are featured seeing their child perform the show for the first time.

Star of the show is eight-year-old rising talent Tia Isaac from London – this is Tia’s first TV singing performance. For children who want to take their very own star turn, Sainsbury’s is stocking a children’s star costume (£8 in store and online).

The spot will premier in a primetime TV slot on Monday during Coronation Street on ITV, with the extended advert due to roll out on all social channels from 00.01 that morning. Tia’s version of the song will also be live on Spotify from Monday.

It forms part of the brand’s large-scale ‘We give all we’ve got for the ones we love’ Christmas marketing campaign with additional food and drink TV, radio, print, digital, social and OOH advertising planned around the same message.
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