Nisa-Today's is hoping its first national television ­advertising campaign will swell its retail estate to 1,200 stores by 2012.

The buying group's £1.3m television ad airs for the first time on 27 December during ITV1's Daybreak and will run for six weeks in a mixture of one minute, 30-second and 10-second slots.

Filmed in a new Nisa Local store in Stockton-on-Tees owned by independent retailer John Stevenson, it features two children in dressing up clothes pretending to shop for their evening meal. They are then found by their mum and the family go to the till to pay for their shopping.

The company currently has around 730 stores under its symbol fascia and, according to Nisa-Today's CEO Neil Turton, aims to reach 1,000 in 2011 and 1,200 by 2012. In the past, retailers had said they were put off joining Nisa-Today's because it did not run national TV ads, so the new campaign would go a long way to attract new ­retailers, he said.

"We now have the density and critical mass to go on TV," he added. "We have actually gone early on this; for critical mass we always said 1,000 stores but we thought 'let's just do it'. The ad will substantially increase the awareness of Nisa, drive more shoppers and attract new retail ­members."

The ad was specifically designed to be "fun, different and non-corporate", said Nisa's group symbol director John Heagney. "We don't want to be cloned like a corporate we want to show that as independents we're different."

Nisa-Today's had also chosen to run the ad after Christmas because it was a period when the multiples spent less on advertising.

"It's a positive trading time for indies," he said. "Consumers are maxed out, they are weary of ­shopping and shop closer to home."

Turton added that he would be "astonished" if the symbol group did not continue to advertise on television.

Nisa-Today's already runs regular ads in the ­national papers.