Sainsbury’s Christmas advert 2016 -The Greatest Gift

This year’s onslaught of ‘feel good’ Christmas adverts has been tumbling out from the marketing divisions of all the major retailers in the UK. I’m going to force myself to watch them and analyze them with my critical eye.

Next up, the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert, 2016.

Meet our hero, Dave. Dave is a completely useless man who goes through extreme hurdles to ultimately sit about the house for Christmas day, hurdles that wouldn’t have existed if Dave understood time management, or hell, the possibilities of internet shopping.

Sainsbury's Christmas advert 2016 -The Greatest Gift 2


We’re introduced to Dave by him getting up and ready for work. Notice how his entire family are helping him as he stumbles about obviously late. His wife shoves toast in this mouth as he scoots past, his daughter hands him his briefcase, and his mother-in-law is dangling his remaining shoe as if it were radioactive. All of them have a smile on their face because they already know that he is useless and needs all the help the world can offer. The family have already laid their demons about him to bed and try to smile like it doesn’t hurt them anymore.


Sainsbury's Christmas advert 2016 -The Greatest Gift


Next up, we see him on a train using an actual notepad and pencil to jot down his Christmas list. Dave must be hiding some deep and dark skeletons in his closet for him jot things down on paper and not even think about going online to shop, then again, everyone else in the carriage is using what looks like burner phones so already this town is full of supposed criminals.


Sainsbury's Christmas advert 2016 -The Greatest Gift 4

As we see the list that Dave is thoughtfully scribbling down on his daily commute to work, I begin to think that Dave’s family are actually his carers. He clearly hasn’t a clue on what to buy them, his supposed family, which again indicates how rubbish he actually is. Kids start dropping hints for Christmas in around February when they’re bored of last year’s toys, and normal people know what their significant other would like. All he’s managed to nearly settle on is a bone for his dog and a toy for his son (yes, I just assumed Lawrence’s gender. Bite me.), I’m just hoping Dave understands that the word toy encompasses more items than our universe, which he should do because he works in a toy factory.

After bumbling about and causing carnage by putting people off their work on the factory floor, Dave decides that he’d better spend his lunch break buying some last-minute crap from the high street. The cheerful song indicates that there’s a queue for the queue…so if we trim the fat and boil that down, there’s a big queue at the shops. This whole town seems like a social experiment.

When Dave gets back to work, an office party has sprung up within his cubicle. Now Dave must’ve known about the staff Christmas party, but due to his actions he has to work throughout the festivities, stopping every now and then to stare curiously at his boss’ ass. But something is odd about this picture…

Sainsbury's Christmas advert 2016 -The Greatest Gift


Let’s focus on the people circled in yellow. The lady on the left has the deadest eyes I’ve ever seen, real or animated, which warns me that panic and a cold current of fear is enveloping the room, and I’m not sure who’s copying who, but she and her other yellow circle counterpart have the same pose. One of them is trying to fit in by assimilation because someone/something deadly is monitoring them.
The two circled in red are both looking at that possible someone/something off screen with furrowed brows. There is a sense of dread here which I haven’t come across in a Christmas advert before, or it could be that everyone was dancing alone elsewhere and then got teleported together simultaneously, and this was the scene a few seconds before they had realised what happened. Nobody is interacting with each other. Either way, I don’t get it.


Dave finally gets home after the sun has set and everyone’s asleep. He softly enters his daughter’s room, quietly like a mouse so as not to wake her, and sees that she has a gingerbread version of him on her bedside table because she rightfully thinks that it’s better than actual, human Dave. Oh boy, Dave, you better pull something good out of the bag this year…
A flashback occurs showing us he managed some family time with his daughter and son which give him a solid gold idea on how to combat the problem of shit time management skills, by ‘cloning’ himself. Yup, that’ll solve everything, Dave. He uses his poor dog as a reindeer and quickly gets pulled via sled back to his work.


Sainsbury's Christmas advert 2016 -The Greatest Gift


Dave illegally opens up shop and somehow manages to operate an entire toy factory by himself. As this is the case, what’s the point of everyone else on the factory floor if Dave can do it all himself? Fire them all. He scans himself into a machine which adds his ‘likeness’ to a manner of Poundland-esque shit and sends them off to be him in various situations.


Hang on, It’s Dave that needs to be fired. If Dave’s job can be done by a plastic nodding dog and a wind-up toy monkey, I think the toy company can save a salary-amounts-worth of money each year…Regardless, the social experiment township either doesn’t notice or doesn’t care that Dave has turned into a handful of toys, so Dave finally gets a day off to spend with his sympathetic family for Christmas. Lovely.
A little song and dance happens showing harmonious people showing off how much food they’ve made and the end titles roll with a tagline that reads, ‘Christmas Is For Sharing.’ Dave took that to mean share your workload with the army of drones he created in order to spend Christmas day lounging about on his ass. To me, he is inefficient and an incredibly slow worker; Being late in the morning, working during the Christmas party, using his dog to pull him about the place like a reindeer because his spindly legs are probably useless, and running about the streets to get gifts at the last minute. Come one man, you’ve had an entire year to buy shit from Amazon.

The take away thought from this commercial is that if you can’t clone yourself or insert your mind into an army of worker bots, you’re well and truly shitted. But it’s cute and the animation is nostalgic. Meh.


A harrowing story of a man making hurdles and bumbling through them for a day off.

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