Visa, Sainsbury’s capitalise on holiday season with multi-platform ad campaigns

By Hannah Ohm Thomas


London, United Kingdom


The lights are up, boxes of mince pies fill supermarket aisles, and when you pick up the newspaper, it’s jam packed with glitter-adorned ads. It can only be Christmas.

From luxury brands like Chanel to the supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, advertisers are tapping into the rich, diverse audiences and trusted environments news brands offer.

This year’s campaigns demonstrate how brands can disrupt traditional channel strategies to engage with readers across platforms to deliver tangible business results. The latest PAMCo numbers show online daily news readership is at a record high. Brands are embracing this (and more) in the run up to Christmas.

Here are a few great examples of Christmas ads.


One of the best-loved Christmas ads every year comes from Sainsbury’s. To mark the 150-year anniversary of the supermarket chain, the ad goes back in time to the year 1869 when the supermarket celebrated its first Christmas. Depicting a Dickensian London, the creative ad appeared as an impressive cover wrap for the Metro and on its homepages. 

This throw-back ad is inspired from the 1860s.
This throw-back ad is inspired from the 1860s.


The brand took over the advertising space of a whole edition of The Guardian as part of its multi-platform campaign. The adverts championed local businesses, encouraging people to buy locally this Christmas. It was later amplified across The Guardian’s social media channels, most popular podcasts, Web site, and mobile apps.


For the first time ever, Metro produced a video screen wrap for M&S as part of its cross-platform campaign and was later brought to life (very literally) by a flash mob at one of London’s busiest stations.

The innovative campaign took place over a two-week period and was a great example of a print-first Christmas campaign.

This ad campaign had various elements, including a flash mob.
This ad campaign had various elements, including a flash mob.

Holiday appeals

For many, Christmas is a time of giving and the news industry is no different. Newspaper Christmas appeals raise money for causes up and down the country; last year more than £3.5 million was donated.

The Homeless Fund is a campaign shedding light and funding the homelessness problem in the UK.
The Homeless Fund is a campaign shedding light and funding the homelessness problem in the UK.

This year newspapers will be campaigning for a number of causes, from loneliness to leukaemia. I recently wrote about The Independent and Evening Standard’s Christmas appeal, The Homeless Fund, a two-year campaign tackling the homelessness problem. Homelessness has become a major issue in the United Kingdom. It has increased by a fifth in the past year, and on average, two homeless people die every day. The Fund highlights the issue of homelessness and develops initiatives to help stop it.

According to latest figures from the Advertising Association, UK ad spend during the festive period is expected to reach record levels of £6.8 billion, and we are already seeing a lot of this ad spend go to news brands. Keep an eye on our creative gallery, as we add our favourite Christmas ads in the weeks running up to Christmas.

About Hannah Ohm Thomas

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