Tesco’s Christmas advert became the most complained-about marketing campaign of 2021 after anti-vaxxers declared war on it.
The 90-second clip has prompted over 3000 objections to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for showing a double-jabbed Santa.
Most of the complaints claimed it was “coercive” and “encouraged medical discrimination”.
i reports that this was coordinated by anti-vaxxers, using the messaging app Telegram, to make the media pay attention.
“This is medical apartheid and discrimination,” one message read, linking to the watchdog’s complaints page.
“A record number of complaints logged with the ASA will force the MSM [mainstream media] to cover the story and give us a chance to talk about our viewpoint.”
Another message encouraged people to object to the “politicisation of Santa” and write to the ASA.
Group members have also been told to protest at their local Tesco by filling trolleys with food and leaving them at checkouts.
The advert, titled “This Christmas, Nothing’s Stopping Us”, first aired on Saturday night.
Its controversial section takes less than 10 seconds, where Father Christmas struggles to get through the border before producing his vaccination certificate.
Tesco downplayed the scale of complaints and insisted that its marketing had been “well-received”.
“We are still in the midst of a pandemic and the advert reflects the current rules and regulations regarding international travel,” it told the Grocery Gazette.
It is not the first supermarket to become entangled in a controversy over vaccinations.
In September, this publication reported a conspiracy theory that Morrisons was faking its balance sheet to pressure workers into getting jabbed.
The grocer had revealed plans a week earlier to slash sick pay for self-isolating unvaccinated workers, to reign in its “biblical costs”.