The Co-op Group has released its Christmas ad for 2017, which features a series of community groups from the north-west of England performing a version of Blur’s 1999 hit Tender.
The ad, which celebrates communities coming together at Christmas, was filmed by director Max Fisher with no rehearsals to capture a mood of spontaneity.
Groups involved in the ad include the KYSO performing arts group, which was set up to provide purpose and inspiration to young people in Moss Side, Manchester.
The Silver Choir, created to combat loneliness in the older community, is also involved. The Group has been working with the Red Cross since 2015 to find ways to combat loneliness and isolation in the community.
There are also contributions from Burnley Rugby Club, Wardle Academy, Stockport Ukulele Players, musician Steve Callaghan, Punjabi Roots Academy, reggae singer Trevor Roots and Vocologee choir.
The 60-second ad opens with schoolboy Sam, 13, who plays guitar and piano with Wardle Academy Folk group, pushing his bicycle up a hill in Rochdale, the birthplace of the Co-op, before showing the different groups performing the song.
The Group held off releasing the ad until December – bucking a retail industry trend to begin Christmas ad campaigns in November.
It told Marketing Week it had conducted research which found that 50% of the UK public believe Christmas doesn’t officially start until 1 December, with three out of five claiming that Christmas ads start too early.
Speaking to the industry magazine, marketing communications director Amanda Jennings said: “It’s really hard to stand out when everybody is running a campaign around yours. While it’s tempting to be in the November race because of the buzz it generates, it just doesn’t suit our business and isn’t really worth it any more.”
She added: “If we can get the nation to shop with us one more time at Christmas that’s worth £18m to the bottom line so that’s my primary motivation as a marketer.
“This campaign has a nice blend of heart strings, narrative and product, and I feel the best 2017 Christmas ads will be the ones that connect all three of these factors. At the moment, people are shopping little but often and I think that mentality will really benefit a convenience retailer this Christmas.”