It’s hard to find a bad word to say about Sainsbury’s right now. After another strong set of numbers, its Christmas TV ad campaign was stage-managed to perfection, even scoring points for coming out after Armistice Day. While it’s therefore too early to measure shopper reaction with the rigour we’ve applied to our consumer research, Christmas in a Day has already drawn laughs, gasps and tears of admiration, scoring a near-perfect 29/30 from our panel of advertising and marketing experts.

“How The Co-operative Group must wish for some of Sainsbury’s swagger right now”

Adam Leyland, Editor

Maybe there’s some dirt around the £13m it’s set aside to fund a mystery legal battle - a reminder, amid the warm orange glow, that Sainsbury’s also has a dark side, and sharp teeth.

How The Co-operative Group must wish for some of Sainsbury’s swagger right now: certainly members struggled to find a good word to say on Facebook after it announced the temporary suspension of its dividend this week. On the one hand, what did members expect? If you don’t make a profit, how can you hand out a dividend? On the other hand, The Co-op has insisted, ever since the crisis in its banking arm hit the society, that the other Co-op divisions, including its profitable food business, would be unaffected.

With The Co-op announcing a £599m loss in August, surely that was the time to come clean about the impact on the ‘divi’, not with six weeks to go until Christmas, and just days before its traditional payout.

This action makes The Co-op’s Christmas ad campaign - out last week - look even worse than it already was. The best line in the ad (Christmas is just around the corner) is completely lost, as a woman walks idly down the street with not a care in the world (presumably because she’s just done a big shop at a rival supermarket). What’s so odd about the woman’s apparent insouciance is that it’s completely at odds with Christmas and with The Co-op itself there’s no attempt to make a link to the USP of a convenience operator, let alone to The Co-op’s so-called values. Where’s the humour? Where’s the humanity? The answer, by the way, is Sainsbury’s.