On Christmas Day, 1914 there was a famous truce between British and German soldiers: they met in No Man's Land, exhanged gifts, and played football. The event has passed into history and has been told again and again as a reminder of the futility and tragedy of the First World War, perhaps most notably in a rather slushy and quite awful Paul McCartney song. UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's has decided to use the event in their Christmas promotion, and has produced a beautifully-shot, expensive-
Is it tasteless to exploit the memory of war to sell groceries? The official line from Sainsbury's is “The Christmas truce is an emotive and cherished story in our history that is especially poignant in this first world war centenary year. That’s why we have worked together closely with the Legion to ensure we bring this moment to life with authenticity and respect. We know many of our customers feel as passionately about the incredible work of the Legion as we do. We hope our campaign will raise awareness and funds for the Legion and inspire our customers to share a memorable Christmas with family and friends.” Ally Fogg at the Guardian, however, finds it distasteful to the memory of 40 million dead. "For all the respectful tone, the centennial occasion and the endorsement of the Royal British Legion, the ultimate objective here is to persuade us to buy our tinsel, our crackers and our sprouts from one particular supermarket ... Somewhere close to 40 million young men were killed, lost or mutilated in the first world war. Sainsbury’s has all but dressed them in a sandwich board." Remarking on the stunning imagery in the advert, Fogg writes "The film-makers here have done something to the first world war which is perhaps the most dangerous and disrespectful act of all: they have made it beautiful."
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