Sainsbury's Gives Holidays the Royal Treatment in 'Once Upon a Pud'

Alison Hammond, Stephen Fry play it for laughs

In the Middle Ages, holidays could be a royal pain for court chefs. If a bloke's culinary creations displeased, it might just be off with his head! Luckily, the cook in Sainsbury's yuletide ad, dropping today across the U.K., can rely on the supermarket chain for a timely assist.

Wieden+Kennedy London and director Tim Godsall created the spot, which features Alison Hammond of ITV's This Morning as a diva countess, a fairy-tale voiceover from comedy legend Stephen Fry, an angry ogre, wacky wigs, a talking crow, and, briefly, a dragon, which, as we all know, makes everything chill:

Sainsbury's | Once Upon a Pud

Phew! Thanks to Sainsbury's, dude's caramelized biscuit pudding pleased Her Excellency. For a minute there, we thought she'd go medieval on his ass.

Both her enraptured response to the dessert—"That's a bit of me!"—and the spot's title, "Once Upon a Pud," sound kind of kinky to American ears. But Brits will dig the slang, and there's lots of laughs, plus that rad dragon and a symphonic version of the Wheatus indie-rock staple "Teenage Dirtbag." So, what's not to like?

To quote another salient line from the countess: "Well done, Babs!"

"Food plays a central role in any celebration, and we wanted to bring to life the imagination and innovation that goes into creating our 'Taste the Difference' Christmas range," says Sainsbury's head of campaigns Laura Boothby. "We also wanted the ad to provide some fun and lighthearted Christmas cheer."

She adds: "We've focused on the pudding specifically because we know it's divisive—people love it or they hate it—and that's why we've created the Taste the Difference Caramelized Biscuit Pudding. Pudding lovers can still opt for the traditional dessert, but those who aren't fans can try our innovative take on the classic instead."

And so, U.K. holiday ad season begins. (Sainsbury's rival Asda just unboxed this funny package—starring Buddy the Elf!). Such spots are a big deal across the pond, akin to U.S. Super Bowl campaigns, with brands like Sainsbury's, John Lewis, Boots and Marks & Spencer annually battling it out for seasonal supremacy.

Sainsbury's has authored several memorable holiday messages involving trips to the past. In 2019, the brand traveled to 1869 for a Dickensian romp. And its 2014 story of a soccer match between enemy soldiers during World War I ranks as a timeless treasure, regarded by some as the greatest Christmas commercial of all time.


Client: Sainsbury's
Project Name: Once Upon a Pudding
Synopsis: Sainsbury's Taste the Difference 2022 Christmas Campaign
Media Channels: TV, Social, Digital
Client Name: Sainsbury's
Markets: UK

Agency: W+K LONDON
Creative Directors: Freddy Taylor & Philippa Beaumont, Juan Sevilla & Joe de Souza
Executive Creative Director: Susan Hoffman
Group Account Director: Ollie Pym
Account Director: Hazel Mc Partlan
Account Manager: Sophie Grierson
Chief Strategy Officer: Dan Hill
Strategy Director: Georgia Challis
Planner: Ollie Chakraverty
Comms Planner: Calvin Lyon
Heads of Production: Rich Adkins, Amy Leach
Producer: Sahar Bluck
Production Assistant: Lea Georgiev
Project Director: Mark D'abero
Agency Artworker: David Brodie
Design Directors: Phil Rosier, Alex Thursby-Pelham
Designer: Emma Cope
Head of Business Affairs: Helena Tomas
Business Affairs Manager: Jo Woodfood
Business Affairs Coordinator: Lenya James

Production Company: Anonymous Content
Director: Tim Godsall
Executive Producer / Managing Director: Victoria Fitzwilliams
Production Company Producer: Stephen Johnson
Production Manager: Marian Mikhail
Director of Photography: Stephen Keith Roach
Production Designer: Chris Oddy
Costume Designer: Sophie O'Neil
Food Styling: Katie Giovanni

Editorial Company: Final Cut
Editor: Rick Russell
Edit Assistant: Josh Chadwick
Edit Producer: Nikki Porter

VFX Company: Time Based Arts
VFX Head of Production: Josh Robinson
VFX Producer: Mia Saunders + Sian Jenkins
2D Lead: Thiago Dantas
2D Artist: Valeria Scalamandre
2D Artist: Sarah Breakwell
2D Artist: Ria Shroff
2D Artist: David Birkhill
2D Artist: Oliver Ramsey
3D Lead: Mike Battcock
3D Artist: Nick Smalley
3D Artist: Quentin Corker-Marin
Colourist: Lewis Crossfield
Colour Asst.: Sharn Talbot + Max Ferguson Hook

Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell + Michalis Anthis
Sound Producer: Olivia Ray + Aishah Amodu

Music Production: Mr Pape
Performer & Producer: Joseph Alexander
Composer: Brendan B. Brown

Music Licensing: 20 Below
Music Supervision: Emily Pritchard

Hero Talent Casting: Talent Republic
CEO: Anne Batz
Managing Partner: Charlie Powell
Senior Account Executive: Ella Barker
Researcher: Louise Urwin

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