Anti-vaxxers boycott Tesco after Christmas ad features double-vaccinated Santa

Tesco became the target of a social media hate campaign over the weekend after the release of its annual Christmas advert which, this year, features a Covid passport-bearing Santa Clause.

Titled This Christmas, Nothing’s Stopping Us, the minute-and-a-half clip shows Britons enjoying the festive season after lockdown restrictions last year meant the majority of friends and families could not come together.

But, amid the joy a news reporter tells shocked viewers that Father Christmas “may have to be quarantined” – before the man of the hour appears in front of a border control officer bearing his Covid passport to certify he has received both doses of a vaccine, and so can go ahead with his travel plans.

Despite the make-believe British public being overwhelmed on-screen, it was a different story offline as dozens of anti-vaxxers took to Twitter to launch a #BoycottTesco campaign in response to the commercial.

“Blimey … I bet Tesco bosses are sweating right now,” one man in Essex tweeted. “Who the hell thought it was a good idea to show a vaccine passport in their Xmas advert?!”

He added: “I’m not surprised #BoycottTesco is trending. Idiotic.”

One woman from Loughton commented underneath the ad – posted to the official Tesco Twitter account – saying: “This is absolutely sick. Jab passports and quarantine are not jokes. Leave it out of Christmas please.”

The supermarket giant made its position clear, though, responding to Faye’s message directly, saying only: “This Christmas, #NothingsStoppingUs.”

Some of the responses were more dramatic, with one man posting a picture of his Tesco Clubcard – through which the supermarket’s rewards system operates – cut up into three pieces. “Nope,” he wrote alongside the image. “I spend £500+ a month with yourselves. Not anymore though. #BoycottTesco.”

One woman who describes herself as a “proud anti-C19 vaxxer” on her Twitter profile, also got involved, asking: “Did I really just see a Christmas TV ad on ITV for Tesco to Queen’s “Don’t Stop me Now” hit with families having fun / flying abroad etc & then a guy flashing up his smart phone with a Covid passport on it??”

She continued: “Omg screaming in fear I am NEVER shopping at Tesco again #boycottTesco – not ok.”

While there was some negative feedback, a huge number of people shared their delight at Tesco’s “brilliant” and “on the money” advert.

“The Tesco marketing team smashed their ad this year,” one woman from London, wrote, alongside a number of clapping-hands emojis.

The government has been under intense pressure to assure families their Christmases will not be cancelled again this year, with senior Tory MPs being criticised in recent weeks for refusing to acknowledge the potential impact of coronavirus on the festive period.

Asked last month if the holiday was at risk, health secretary Sajid Javid said he thought Christmas will be “normal”, but suggested this is contingent on people “playing their part”, such as through getting jabs.

Around 46 million UK residents are thought to be fully vaccinated against Covid, according to the latest government figures, with the NHS saying more than 10 million in England alone have now received their third “booster” vaccine since the programme began just seven weeks ago.

Every year, supermarkets, shops and retailers go head-to-head in an attempt be crowned the winner of the unofficial Christmas ad competition.

Department store John Lewis has repeatedly stolen the show, however the big four supermarkets – Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons – have had some notable years. Perhaps most iconic was the 1914 advert from Sainsbury’s, put out seven years ago.

The commercial, which premiered on ITV during an ad-break for Coronation Street, retold the story of Christmas Day in 1914, when opposing British and German soldiers emerged from their First World War trenches to exchange gifts and play football.


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