Content Highlight of the Week: Sainsbury's Blockbuster


It’s been a week of stormy debate here at Red Bee towers. Well, it has since Wednesday at least, when Sainsbury’s released their new four minute film for Christmas.  Before we get into the arguments that have raged back and forth, let’s cover off the points of unanimous agreement.

  • It’s content and advertising. A lead film that will be sought and shared, with probable cut down edits to run in paid for media. A sound approach.
  • The additional contextual video content around the main film extends the story, and neatly amplifies the impact.
  • It’s wonderfully made and mesmerising to watch. A truly gripping tour de force of short-film film-making.

Yep, everyone agreed it was damn good content. Visually arresting, thrilling, poetic, thoughtful, bittersweet, moving and true. Almost perfect. Almost. I say almost, because of the nagging doubt that made some uncomfortable with it. The nagging doubt that using the anniversary of the First World War and the death of millions to flog turkeys and tinsel was at best a little crass. And, at worst, downright disrespectful of those that suffered back then, and the audience’s intelligence right now. That nagging doubt is aptly expressed in this excellent Guardian article, so no need for us to expand on those weighty arguments in a little-read weekly blog on video content marketing. We know our place, Big Journalism. But the strong counter arguments to that nagging doubt ran as follows:

  • It forcefully yet sensitively reminds us of humanity’s capability for both vicious carnage and acts of great charity, and it does that better than many traditional media outlets have managed to. That’s a Good Thing.
  • It could raise money for the British Legion – doing some good for living veterans of war
  • If we all got hung up or cynical about brands piggy-backing on sensitive anniversaries and serious issues, then a brand’s involvement in just about anything other than funny sales pitches becomes questionable. And that pretty much knackers modern marketing, and with it any hopes for a more ethical and sustainable business world.

Whichever way you look at it, this work from Sainsbury’s makes you think and feel, viscerally. And if it’s doing that, then it sure must be a highlight.