Sainsbury's: The Bude Tunnel

  • Arthur Hepburn
  • Richard Beer
  • Andrew Bevan
  • Jacinta Szuman
  • Seb Royce

This is the story of the Sainsbury’s tunnel that unexpectedly won Christmas in Britain in 2018. After the supermarket became a tongue-in-cheek local attraction on TripAdvisor, we saw an opportunity to transform an internet joke into a jaw-dropping Christmas light spectacle. Taking the joke further than anyone could imagine, we decorated our tunnel with an immersive light and music experience, powered by 100,000 pixels of LED light. Always one for whimsy, Britain delighted in this preposterously magical sight, set so incongruently in a drab supermarket car park. A brilliant brand experience that morphed into a true internet phenomenon.

The challenge

Christmas is a rough time for retailers’ egos. With shiny telly ads and hefty media budgets as standard, it’s tough for a brand like Sainsbury’s to cut through and get heard.
How do you make people really feel warm and fuzzy about your brand at Christmas?

The plan

The glossy brand ad needed a counterpart for the social generation. Our aim was to deliver brand warmth in a way that chimed with savvy, social-first shoppers.
We spotted an opportunity in the sleepy town of Bude, Cornwall, where a plastic Sainsbury’s tunnel was racking up ratings as a local attraction on TripAdvisor. The story was pure Reddit catnip. Silly, good-hearted, and quintessentially British, it had all the makings of a bigger internet phenomenon. We were determined to make it our Christmas star - and put our client, Sainsbury’s, right at the heart of the story.
So we gave it a makeover.
We were #1 Trending on Twitter, #1 Most Viewed BBC Video and had over 100 pieces of coverage worldwide with 94% directly attributable to Sainsbury’s.

Project Tags


  • Sainsbury's logo


    • Non Creative Industries