What was intended as an up-beat and positive Christmas television advertisement has ended up causing a backlash and a spot of bother for a certain supermarket behemoth.

Is it Tesco?

It certainly is. The company’s Christmas advert had its world premiere on Saturday during ITV’s The Chase Celebrity Special, and its message was this: Christmas as we know and love it is back with a bang, and nothing is going to stop us from enjoying it.

Triumph over adversity?

That is the general theme. And so we watch as a grandmother makes a dash to buy the one important item she has forgotten (cranberry sauce). We see an office Christmas party resort to lighting a row of Christmas puddings when the lights go out. And we wipe away a tear as a young girl makes it into Santa’s grotto after closing time. You get the drift. “Whenever we set out to create our campaigns, we want to be sure that we capture how the nation really feel and reflect that,” says Alesandra Bellini, Tesco’s Chief Customer Office. “Our research revealed that people are looking forward to meaningful get-togethers with their loved ones again and given the backdrop of cancelled plans of last year, they won’t let anything stop them having a proper celebration this year.” To underline the message, the soundtrack to the 90 second advertisement is Queen’s 1979 anthem, Don’t Stop Me Now.

What’s wrong with that?

Nothing. Except that in one scene a certain Mr S Claus, a heavily-bearded gentleman arriving at a UK customs point, holds up his phone to flash his ‘I’ve been double-jabbed certificate’.

Again, what’s wrong with that?

Nothing. Unless you are of the anti-vaxxer persuasion or object to vaccine passports, in which case you take to social media to post opinions and comments on the matter. “Who in their right mind in management thought this was a good idea? If you don’t #BoycottTesco then you are #complicit,” wrote TV presenter Gillian McKeith. One Twitter saw the advertisement as promoting medical apartheid, a second demanded a formal apology, and a third wrote that it only “braindead sheep” could not see the advertisement for what it is: “sinister government ‘nudging’.”

Sinister government nudging?

That’s what it says. Of course not everybody wading into the spat took the same view. One commentator though it a stroke of genius on Tesco’s part. “Immediately triggered all the anti-vaxxers into boycotting the store, meaning it's the safest place to go and do your supermarket shop. So many birds with one stone.” Another found it amusing that such a furore could be raised by people who think Santa is real but Covid-19 isn’t.

Hang on – Santa isn’t real?

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings.