Rick Astley Cameos in Sainsbury's Holiday Offering

Because we're never gonna give him up

We've got your Sainsbury's Christmas ad right here! This is one we look forward to every year, since the brand released the epically heart-wrenching "1914" in 2014.

The 2023 iteration is brought to you by New Commercial Arts. The agency won Sainsbury's business recently, when Wieden+Kennedy opted not to re-pitch for the account. Weeks ago, we learned the work would feature a cameo by Rick Astley. When pressed further, the brand coquettishly said, "We're never gonna give up the secrets of our Christmas ad this early."

The ad revolves around a girl who takes over a mic at Sainsbury's to ask a critical question about Santa. Ultimately, it becomes a bonding moment between the employees and Santa himself.

The big question: What does Santa like for Christmas dinner? This gets everyone all hot about which dishes they prefer. Up North someplace (perhaps in Norway, with his love), Santa comments on the suggestions. (None is a carrot, though carrots are, weirdly, a subtheme this season.)

The ad is a softball: Safe premise, safe feels, a so-so cameo. "Come on, Rick!" an employee exclaims when the star suggests cheese while doing his own shopping. "Cheese before puddin'? You know the rules—"

"—and so do I," another employee musically interjects, creating a Rickroll on Astley, who flashes his good-sport face.

The ad functions as a pretext to a packshot-style feasting table at the end, featuring all the treats everyone mentioned, available at Sainsbury's.

It's not "1914." It's not even a "Once Upon a Pud." But it'll do in a pinch, like a Hallmark movie filling a wide holiday afternoon.

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Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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