Christmas Advert Review - Newspaper Submission
From Dickensian urchins to griming ornaments - the Christmas adverts have arrived. But which retailer is worthy of your attention… and your money?
The firework assault has only just hit peacetime when the C-word lunges full frontal like a drunk flasher in a Lidl car park. Channel 5 is airing misogynistic movies about women daring to have careers, quickly reminded (through the magic of Christmas) that they should be at home having families. Selfish cows. And the email arrives with this year’s Secret Santa - what is best to get Sophie in Accounts?
In steps the Christmas advert, primarily designed to make us fall in love with the brand. Like mum’s flashing reindeer earrings, these adverts want to be noticed. They are as synonymous with the season as eye-wateringly expensive advent calendars, commanding the biggest budgets and the most anticipation.
Waiting for that sweet spot in the I’m a Celebrity launch, Tesco was the last major commercial to be released this year, with a tale of Brexit future. It’s the supermarket’s centenary and they’re celebrating with a Back to the Future themed trip down memory lane. “What the Dickens?” the delivery driver exclaims as his van gets magicked to Victorian Britain and little urchins proclaim “Cheers Guv’nor” in a mockney accent even Dick Van Dyke would envy. The driver is transported again, delivering to none other than Winston Churchill before a fleeting visit to a 90s rave and a pass through the swinging 60s.
The propaganda is only Christmassed-up by The Ronettes ding-a-ling through the snowy landscape. And just when you thought Tesco couldn’t ‘take our country back’ anymore, up pop Jim Bowen and Bully. “Super, smashing, great.”
John Lewis is celebrating difference with Excitable Edgar. He’s the only dragon in the village and when he gets excited he spurts fire. But adorable Edgar destroys everyone else’s fun, literally. He enthusiastically helps build a snowman, only to melt it, he joins ice skaters, but leaves kids waist-deep in watery disappointment. He even incinerates the town’s Christmas tree.
Edgar’s different so they don’t understand him. He could be another metaphor for our troubled political times, or he could just be an endearing CGI creation set to crown John Lewis as the festive advert market leaders once again.
The whole touching tale is cemented in our hearts by Bastille’s Dan Smith and his crushing rendition of ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’. The cover of REO Speedwagon’s 80s earworm adds to a charming, funny commercial that will bring a tear to the hardest eye, and provide a merchandising dream for John Lewis - Edgar toys are already sold-out online.
Christmas commercials may seem like consumerism on ‘roids, but advertisers aren’t necessarily to blame. If they follow the religious route, there can be hell to pay, as Paddy Power found out when penalised for promoting Jesus enjoying a spot of roulette. Maybe the Advertising Standards Agency could fine Marks and Spencer for this years Christmas food advert…. on the grounds of it being shit? Emma Willis and Paddy McGuiness blandly comment on grub at a food market, with the latter dully parroting the famous line “This is not just food,” over a pavlova. Presumably M&S ran out of budget after making another advert this season.
Happily, the clothing commercial is spot on, featuring festive knitwear that forces its wearers to dance. House of Pain’s Jump Around weaves through the Go Jumpers advert, encouraging a shoulder shimmy from the grinchiest of Grandads. Thank goodness, because new advertising gender stereotyping laws would surely have ruled out M&S last year with their “fancy little knickers” Must-Haves? Hurrah for feminism.
Perhaps Mother Christmas could have a word with Boots? The annoying kid at the back of class, holding up its hand for so long it uses the other hand to support its burden? Oooooh oooohhhh it bounces, look at us, we show how different people are now and how cool we are with that. Even vegans are catered for here. Yes folks, among the fungal cream and tampons, there’ll be something perfect for your hessian-wearing nephew.
And if awkward relatives are coming to stay, Ikea is on hand with major LOLZ thanks to D Double E spitting fire via incongruous ornaments. “I must confess, this place ain’t bless,” starts the terrifying rabbit teapot, as other discarded toys and ornaments join in dissing the messy household. “Your style is fired,” says the teapot. Why is inanimate objects ‘doing grime’ funny? But while it’s entertaining, and it does have some reindeer, it’s not very, you know, ‘Christmassy’
Then again, there is nothing more festive than an almighty family row, and what better way to kick that off than some flat pack furniture? Oh holy night.