Sainsbury's new Christmas advert has received criticism for featuring a black family

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has defended one of its 2020 Christmas adverts, after online trolls criticised it for being too ‘woke’.

The retailer shared the first of three one-minute clips on Twitter on 14 November, and was immediately met with a backlash from some social media users.

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What happens in the Sainsbury's advert?

The first clip shared by the supermarket – titled ‘Gravy Song’ – centres around a phone call between a father and daughter as they discuss plans for Christmas, and acknowledge the fact they may not get to spend it together as usual thanks to the coronavirus crisis.

As the pair share memories of Christmases past, the film throws up a montage of home video-style recalling previous festive periods.

“Your gravy is good to be fair," says the daughter as she reminisces on her father’s much-loved sauce; “I just really want to be home for it.”

The advert aims to show how food (an essential still available readily during the Covid-19 pandemic) can bring people together and create happy memories.

Why are people against it?

The advert is designed to strike somewhere between innocent and heartwarming film, yet some social media users have managed to find fault with it.

That’s because it depicts an all black family, something which trolls have said “doesn’t represent” them.

Some commenters even went so far as to suggest a boycott of the supermarket over the advert, which they said was a flagrant case of “virtue signalling”.

“The UK is 80 per cent white. Do Sainsbury’s not have data on who actually shops there LOL?” one person wrote. A second person wrote: “Another one added to the banned list. Go woke go broke.”

How have other Twitter users responded?

(Photo: Matthew Lloyd/Matthew Lloyd/getty Images for Sainsbury's)

Many Twitter users praised the advert for its push towards representing the diversity prevalent in British culture.

Some people compared the advert to Aldi’s own Christmas campaign, which makes use of carrot characters to deliver its message.

“I'm very upset about the Aldi advert actually," joked one Twitter user in response to the Sainsbury’s trolls, “because I'm not a carrot and us non-carrot people have not been represented.”

“It's nice that you have done a black family [and] a dark skinned one at that! Who you rarely see on TV, thank you,” said another.

Another added: “You can’t relate to an advert showing a family of human beings. Are you alright Debbie?!”

“I wouldn’t normally weigh in on a Christmas advert,” one person commented, “but I’ve just read through the replies and wanted to say bravo to whoever’s running your social media accounts and having to spend their day replying to sad old racists throwing tantrums.”

What has Sainsbury’s said?

The mudslinging on Twitter became so loud that the supermarket was forced to weigh in on the response to its advert.

“At Sainsbury's, we want to be the most inclusive retailer,” it said. “That's why, throughout all our advertising we aim to represent a modern Britain, which has a diverse range of communities. We have three stories of three different families in our advertising.”

Two more adverts make up the supermarket’s Christmas campaign this year, including Perfect Portions, which shows mother and son sharing memories of past Christmases, and Big Sarnie, which features two cousins reminiscing about Boxing Day at their grandma’s.

“We know that this year has been different for everyone,” said Sainsbury’s. “It’s our memories of these dishes, prepared by the people we love, that have the power to transport us home - whether we’re there or not.

“We hope everyone enjoys watching the collection and it takes them back to their fondest memories of food, home and Christmas.”

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, the Yorkshire Evening Post