Ashley Jensen, the "Extras" and "Ugly Betty" star, fronts Waitrose's festive commercial this year, playing a character for whom food trumps absolutely everything else at Christmas.
For the past two years, Waitrose's Christmas advertising has been a joint campaign with parent company John Lewis (both retailers work with agency Adam&Eve/DDB), but in this year's solo campaign, the emphasis is firmly back on the supermarket's upscale foodstuffs.
In the spot, Jensen's mischievous auntie remarks on how while opening gifts, caroling and watching Christmas movies are great, they're not as exciting as the food. She also tries to pass off celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal's mince pies as her own (with Blumenthal in a cameo as a party guest). While it's not the most unusual idea, Jensen's sparky performance, under the direction of comedy veteran Jeff Low at Biscuit, makes the 60-second spot go with a zing.
“Food plays such a wonderful role in creating those special moments and we know how incredibly important this Christmas is to so many people, after we were unable to have all of our family and friends around us last year," said Waitrose Customer Director Martin George, in a statement. "We felt the feasting and celebrations deserved the spotlight in this year’s campaign because after all, the best bit of Christmas is the food.”