The advertising regulator has cleared Tesco’s Christmas TV campaign featuring Father Christmas bearing a Covid vaccine passport after it prompted 5,000 complaints from viewers.
The ad, titled This Christmas, Nothing’s Stopping Us, shows the supermarket’s customers determined to enjoy a proper Christmas with family and friends after last year’s Covid-related restrictions.
However, in one scene a reporter appears on TV with “breaking news”, telling viewers that “Santa could be quarantined”.
Father Christmas is then shown presenting his Covid pass at border control, proving he has been vaccinated to a customs officer so he can enter the country without restriction.
Commenting on complaints that the ad is coercive and encourages medical discrimination, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says the advert “doesn’t break our rules and there are no grounds for further action”.
“In summary, we consider that the depiction of Santa displaying a proof of vaccine status in an airport is likely to be seen as a humorous reference to international travel rules people have experienced this year; it is unlikely to be interpreted as a message about these rules or the Covid-19 vaccine more widely.
“While we understand that some people disagree with the vaccine programme and may find the ad in poor taste, we have concluded that the ad is unlikely to be seen as irresponsible or cause serious or widespread offence on the basis suggested.”