Tesco Drives Through a Century of British History in Its Christmas Ad

BBH celebrates the grocery chain's centenary

British grocery chain Tesco unveiled its big 2019 Christmas advert on Sunday night, and the BBH London production goes heavy on the nostalgia as it celebrates the client's 100 years of delivering Christmas to the nation. 

The plot involves a Tesco's delivery driver whose unexpected collision with a string of Christmas lights opens a supernatural portal to the past. Suddenly it's 100 years ago, and our hero subsequently drives through various British eras, including stops at 10 Downing Street during the Churchill years, Buckingham Palace (where Queen Elizabeth is about to make her famous first televised Christmas address in 1957), and even the classic 1980s game show Bullseye. 

Eventually the drivers makes it back to the present day, where he enjoys Christmas with his family. 

The spot uses "Sleigh Ride" by the Ronettes and was directed by Traktor. 

Tesco Christmas Advert 2019 | #DeliveringChristmas

The 90-second spot launched Sunday night during ITV's I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! The nostalgic approach was expected, given Tesco has been celebrating its centenary all year, even bringing back iconic characters from the past including Mr. Blobby, Des Lynam and Morph. 

"2019 marks 100 years of Tesco helping families up and down the country celebrate Christmas. With the help of a delivery van, a cast from across the decades and little bit of magic, we're telling that story," says Alessandra Bellini, Tesco's chief customer officer.

"Tesco have been helping the nation deliver Christmas for 100 years. That's pretty magical. We just needed to add a little sparkle to the story," adds Tom Drew, creative director at BBH London. 

The Christmas campaign also includes print, OOH, radio, digital, social, in-store, PR and experiential marketing. MediaCom handled media planning and buying. BBH has also created an AR lens with Snapchat, as well as a Facebook arcade game involving the delivery van. 

The spot joins other nostalgic Christmas ads this year, including the Sainsbury's spot that takes place in Dickensian times and the Argos spot that harks back to the '80s. 


Client: Tesco
Chief Customer Officer - Alessandra Bellini
Marketing Communications Director - Emma Botton
Head of Campaigns – Ben Sherburn
Campaign Manager – William Botterill
Campaign Assistant – Suzie Kirton

BBH Creative Team: Marc Rayson & Callum Prior
BBH Creative Director: Tom Drew 
BBH Tesco Head of Art: Uche Ezugwu
BBH Senior Strategist: Lucy Moody
BBH Strategy Director: Simon Gregory
BBH Business Lead: Samantha McLeod
BBH Senior Account Director: Laura Brady
BBH Account Manager: Harry Warburton
BBH Account Executive: Claudia Richardson

Film Credits 
BBH Producer: Joe Pawsey
BBH Assistant Producer: Kurtison Bailey
Production Company: Stink
Directors: Traktor
Executive Producer: Jon Chads
Producer: Lucy Gossage
DoP: Alex Barber
Post Production: MPC
Editor/Editing House: Adam Spivey at The Assembly Rooms
Sound: Sam Ashwell and Ben Gulvin at 750mph
Talent and Licensing Consultants: The Bourne Consultancy
TV Materials:  ITV Archive

Print Credits
BBH Senior Account Director: Philip Mattinson
BBH Account Manager: Zoe Harris
BBH Producer: Chris Sellier
BBH Assistant Producer: Beth Mechem
Photographer: Myles New ℅ Rare by Trayler
Rare Producer: Kay Edwards
Food Stylist: Marina Filippelli
Prop Stylist: Tony Hutchinson

Social credits: 
BBH Creative: James McComb
BBH Account Director: Luke Abbott
BBH Producer: Kevin McCloat
BBH Producer: Ali Terrell
BBH Account Manager: Danni Blakeslee

Media agency: Mediacom

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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