Through the holiday seasons, Kroger has released ads centered on food and family in ways that attempt to captivate not only your heart but also your tear ducts. The popular supermarket chain recently unveiled its 2023 holiday commercial, a touching animated production featuring its Kroger emojis (or Krojis), which unites people from around the world as a family at the dinner table.
At the start of the ad, a child-free couple discovers a flier for a foreign exchange student program as Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph” starts to play. Before long, Valentina M., a young girl from Mexico, comes to stay with them. Despite initial homesickness, Valentina eventually forms a profound connection with the couple through their shared love for cooking.
Valentina’s exchange program sadly ends, leaving the empty-nested couple pining for a similar experience. A montage shows more foreign exchange students from countries including Japan and Denmark bonding with the husband and wife as they make meals. In their golden years, the couple is seen reminiscing over photographs of the many children they helped but now dearly miss. One day, a knock at their door reveals the children as young adults, returning (in a surprise orchestrated by the husband) to celebrate as one big family with a massive holiday feast.
In response, some shoppers can’t turn off the waterworks. “Y’all ain’t have to hurt me like this,” one commenter replied under a YouTube video of the ad. Plenty of others left crying emojis, including someone who asked, “Why am I sobbing?”
This isn’t the first time Kroger has tugged at shoppers’ holiday heartstrings
Kroger is no stranger to putting out genuinely heartfelt ads around this time of year. For the 2022 holiday season, the grocery chain released an animated commercial that featured a widowed Kroji grandfather being transported back in time while cooking cherished recipes from the love of his life, reliving fond memories of their time together over the years. He then shares the family recipes with his son and grandkids.
For 2023, the company followed a similar path by embracing the nostalgic emotions associated with the holidays while also making a point of trying to expand on the motivations behind last year’s ad. “If you think about our approach this year versus last year, we really celebrated holiday memories through a lifetime of different meals. This year’s film builds on that idea … that food is a big part of holiday memories,” said Tom Duncan, Kroger’s head of marketing, speaking with AdAge.