Spar in Northern Ireland is investing £350,000 in its Christmas marketing campaign, which includes a newly created festive brand TV ad that goes live next week.

The ‘There for Christmas’ ad airs for the first time during the screening of the Royal Variety Show on UTV from 9pm on Monday December 8, but the public can view it online on SPAR’s social media channels on Facebook (SPAR NI) and Twitter (@SPARNI) under #SPARkle.

The ad which was filmed at four local SPAR stores - Lambeg, Lagan Valley, Knock Road, Belfast and Hillsborough – uses the well know and classic feel good Chris Rea’s ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ as its backing track.

Following in the steps of many of the big multi-national retailers, the Christmas brand ad moves away from traditional promotional content.

Paddy Doody, sales and marketing director at Henderson Wholesale, which owns and operates the Spar franchise in Northern Ireland, explained: “Our 400 stores are a key part of many towns, villages and cities across Northern Ireland and our research tells us that many people have a special affinity with our brands.

“We know that having an emotional connection with shoppers really matters and this Christmas we’ve decided to move away from traditional tactical television ads with a bigger focus on what people really love about Christmas, to add a new dimension to our brand and bring our customers even closer.

“We believe the approach is unique in the local convenience market. The ad shows how much people cherish being home at Christmas with their friends and families and how many travel far and wide to get there. Coming home at Christmas is special and because SPAR is close to home, people pass it on their way, which means it can play a big role in getting people to embrace the Christmas spirit.

“The new ad complements our wider Christmas campaign where the focus is very much on keeping it close to home, from locally sourced turkeys and gammon as well as locally grown vegetables and potatoes.”

The new ‘There for Christmas’ ad will also be brought to life with an outdoor advertising campaign and digital media using the #SPARkle hashtag.