The story behind our 2014 Christmas ad
Our 2014 Christmas TV ad was inspired by an extraordinary event of the First World War: the Christmas Truce of 1914.
On Christmas Eve, men from the British Expeditionary Force heard German troops in the trenches opposite singing hymns and patriotic songs. Messages were shouted between the trenches and, the following day – Christmas Day, an impromptu truce was arranged.
The dead were buried, trenches were repaired, and both sides met in no-man’s land to exchange gifts, take pictures and even play football.
While the events we depict in our ad are fictional, we’ve tried to make the details as accurate as possible. Everything from the insignia on the men’s uniform to the depth of the trenches is based on historical fact. Even the dry biscuit the British soldier eats was baked to the authentic 1914 recipe.
Last year we also produced a short documentary about the truce. We talk to the historians who advised us, interview relatives of soldiers who were there, and examine genuine artifacts from the trenches.
- Brown, Malcolm & Seaton, Shirley. Christmas Truce: The Western Front December 1914. London, Pan Books, 2001.
- Weintraub, Stanley. Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914. London, Pocket Books, 2002.