Mr Kipling Nativity Play

Here’s an advertisement from Mr Kipling, featuring a quirky take on the Christmas nativity scene found in many churches in the UK. Mary’s at the second trimester of the birth. She squeezes. She agonizes. She clenches up her face. “Come on Mary! Well done Mary! Breathe!” says Joseph at her side. A midwife rushes round and Mary gets some oxygen. The doctor’s waiting at the end of the bed, waiting with forceps, stage lights beside him and an audience behind him. There’s a drip on one side of the bed, a pink Christmas tree on the other side. Three wise men sit at the edge of the room, waiting with gifts of a doll, a truck and a motorbike. One of them stands up and points to the star dangling from the ceiling. “Look, yonder star!”.

Modern nativity scene in Mr Kipling television advertisement

At this point we go to the audience of adults and children who watch with shock and amazement. The vicar’s eating a Christmas mince pie as one of his parishioners asks, “Has Mr Kipling ever directed a nativity play before?” “No, but he does make exceedingly good cakes!” We hear the sound of a new born baby crying as the camera takes us to the supper table with cups of tea in the background. In the foreground we see a hat, figurines of Mary and a donkey, and Exceedingly Jolly Mr Kipling Christmas mince pies. Exceedingly Merry Mince Pies. Best Ever. And we hear a voice shouting in the background, “It’s a girl!”

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube


“Delivery” is another stirling effort from Saatchi & Saatchi, London, by creatives Joel Bradley and Phil Clarke, and agency producer Andy Gulliman.

Filming was shot by director David Lodge via Outsider, London, with producer Garfield Kempton and director of photography Baz Irvine.

Telecine was done by Matt Turner at Framestore, London.

Sound design was done by Parv Thind at Wave Studios, London.

Brickbats and Bouquets

The ad won a silver award “Tele-An Honour for Best Idea in 30 Seconds” in the Creative Circle 2004. However it also attracted a wide range of complaints to the British Advertising Standards Authority, many of them saying that the ad had mocked elements central to the Christian faith. Some said that the ad was too graphic and could scare young children. Others felt the ad was trivialising the act of birth. The ad was voluntarily withdrawn from British television when ASA and Ofcom upheld the complaints. This was despite the consultation with 25-45 year old mums and mainstream church representatives before first going to air. The ad was having an enjoyable laugh with the medium of nativity play, not with the birth of Jesus.

  • deadthevideo

    The Mr. Kipling ads have been going on for god knows how long. I remeber the ads with the Fast Show’s Mark Williams as a chef. Those of a certain age will probably remember the ads with a voiceover talking about his old friend Mr. Kipling and how he would always have a cake ready. It was about time the campaign had something of a reboot to keep the campaign fresh. Saatchi and Saatchi decided to do just that and wanted to have a bit of fun in the process. It attracted a huge number of complaints. In my view, they were not justified. I’ve seen the ad in its entirety and saw it for what it was – harmless fun. Some of the complaints stated that it had the potential to scare children – come off it, kids would get more scares from a Tom and Jerry cartoon than they would from this.

    The ad should not have been banned when you take into account the fact that prior to screening, the ad was tested among religious groups – who loved it. The advert was even criticised by the press, with one paper, the Daily Star if I’m right calling calling it “An Extremely Bad Ad, Kipling”. Again, the ad makers wanted to have fun and in the age of dull-as-dishwater ad breaks, they should been allowed to.