James Corden stars (and sings) in Sainsbury’s catchy Christmas 2016 advert

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Kayleigh Dray
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Christmas adverts usually weave beautiful fairy tales for us, featuring everything from a snowman crossing the world to buy a gift for his favourite snowwoman, to a hoard of woodland creatures showcasing their best bounces on the family trampoline.

However Sainsbury’s have come up with a tale that might feel far more relatable… and, yes, it features James Corden.

Directed by award winning Sam Fell, the new advert tells the charming tale of Dave, who lives in the animated town of Bisby. As the catchy song soon makes clear, the hard-working commuter is more than slightly overwhelmed by the busy Christmas season.

“The streets are chaotic, the ships idiotic… there’s even a queue for the queue,” sings Corden’s character, shortly after a lament about the pitfalls of London’s train services. We’ve all been there, Dave.

However, one night when he returns home late, Dave finds his children fast asleep in bed and spots a gingerbread man decorated to look just like him. He has a brainwave - and goes to the toy factory he works at to create a series of replica versions of himself in all shapes and sizes – tapping monkeys, nodding dogs, toy planes and dancing robots.

By sending them to all the places he should be, he manages to make it home in time to be with his family and join in their much-loved Christmas celebrations. 

Love that catchy tune? No wonder; The Greatest Gift for Christmas Is Me was composed by Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie, a comedian, musician and producer who won the 2012 Oscar for best original song with a track that appeared in The Muppets

Just like this year’s John Lewis advert, Sainsbury’s have designed theirs with a higher cause in mind; all profits from the sale of the specially created Gingerbread ‘Dave’ (£1) and The Greatest Gift film animation kit (£5) will go to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

And, from 21st November, customers will also have the option to make a 20p donation at the till, or more if specifically requested, with all the proceeds going straight to the charity.

Tim Johnson, CEO of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, said: “We’re delighted to be Sainsbury’s official charity partner this year. At Christmas, time spent with the people you love is precious. For the families of patients at Great Ormond Street Hospital who are unable to go home at Christmas, this is particularly true.

“More than half of the patients at Great Ormond Street Hospital live outside of London, and many are hours away from home. Thank you to Sainsbury’s and everyone who supports us through this initiative. The money raised will enable us to help more families be together when they really need to be, by providing dedicated accommodation close to the hospital. This is a vital resource, enabling parents and carers to be at their child’s bedside within minutes, at whatever time of the day and night.”

Sarah Kilmartin, head of broadcast comms at Sainsbury’s, added: “Supporting Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity felt like a very natural extension of this as we know that the families at the hospital face more difficulties than most to spend time together as a family, at Christmas and all year round.

“We are also incredibly proud to have created this year’s Christmas ad in the UK, using cutting edge technology and the best British talent from the film and animation industry.”

She’s not kidding; the intricate sets and puppets took 16 weeks to build – and it took 420 hours to film the stop frame portion of the film in the studio, then eight weeks in post-production to be edited to perfection.

Guess we’ll have to wait and see which Christmas advert is crowned the winner of 2016…


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.