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RETRO CHRISTMAS PACKAGING CAPTURES THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Monday, 15 December 2014 | By Gerry Mulvaney

 

By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing

It’s that time of year again, when the large supermarket chains make a play for the householders Christmas spending budget by some very high profile advertising and marketing campaigns. In the UK we are used to seeing television advertisements tugging at our heartstrings with scenes of family joy and celebration, but Sainsbury’s have gone one better this year.

For the one hundredth anniversary of the start of the Great War of 1914-18 they have made a film about the scenes in December 1914, when British and German soldiers facing each other on the Western Front, staged an unofficial ceasefire. This was after the British heard the German soldiers signing Christmas carols in their trenches. They then ventured into no man’s land and make contact.

The gathering resulted in an impromptu football match between the British and German troops and good humour and fraternising until an outbreak of shelling sent them all running back to their trenches. I don’t know what the result of the game was but I suppose on recent experience the Germans won on penalties – they always do when England play them!

In Sainsbury’s film, one British soldier has received a letter from his sweetheart and with it a Christmas present of a bar of chocolate. He takes part in the game of football with the Germans and befriends a German soldier. On returning to his trench the German soldier discovers the bar of chocolate in his overcoat, a gift from British soldier and with the Sainsbury’s message playing out in the background “Christmas is for sharing”.

“Authentic” Packaging from the Early 20th Century

The bar of chocolate has been made for Sainsbury’s in Belgium (where else of course!) and is wrapped in authentic looking packaging from the early twentieth century.

Sainsbury’s WWI commemorative chocolate bar

Sainsbury’s Christmas retail campaign features authentic-looking retro packaging of chocolates commemorating WWI

The chocolate bar is now appearing at the front of all Sainsbury’s stores and Sainsbury’s has struck a deal with the organisation that looks after British ex-servicemen and women, the British Legion – also responsible for the amazing display of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London, such that the profit on the sales of the chocolate bars goes to swell their funds.

Now in the course of research I have had to purchase some chocolate and I have to say it’s rather good, but the old style packaging is also worthy of comment. It uses a retro style typeface and layout from the 1900s gold on a blue paper, reminiscent of the early bars of Cadburys Dairy Milk. But of course in today’s health and safety conscious world, the old wax paper inner wrapping has been replaced with modern foil. There is also a lot more information included on the back of the bar than would have been there in 1914, including calorie content and recycling instructions – not a worry for the soldiers in the trenches.

I think it’s fair to say that the packaging, along with the film, will be a major contributor to the success of both the chocolate bar and Sainsbury’s Christmas retail campaign – another feather in the cap for the packaging industry.

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