October is over, I’ve put my shark costume away for another year, tried and failed to remember Halloween Hive, and there’s a definite chill in the air. This can mean only one thing. Buckle up, people: Christmas is coming.
Of course, if you’re Argos or Asda, you’ve jumped the proverbial Christmas gun and put out your ‘Christmas Advert’ already. I, for one, think this is a little premature. By the time December rolls around, I’ll be yelling obscenities at my laptop every time your advert pops up on YouTube, resulting in me being far less likely to frequent your shops at Christmas than I otherwise would have been. Argos and Asda are Brussels sprouts compared to the Christmas turkey that is the John Lewis Christmas advert. Let’s be real here folks, this is the big one, the one that invariably stirs up the emotions (no, you’re crying!). The emotional play on us is particularly effective in winter when most of the population suffers from vitamin D deficiency because it’s not sunny enough in this country (when was the last time you had to think about protecting your skin from that Great British sunshine? Yeah, I can’t remember either). Those cunning marketing strategists at John Lewis et al. know what sells during the colder months.
After Mariah Carey, covered from head to toe in red sequins, singing All I Want for Christmas is You, and the re-emergence of Michael Bublé for the festive season, there aren’t many things that scream Christmas like a good old emotional advert for a department store. However, despite John Lewis’ ‘Monty the Penguin’ advert remaining the most popular Christmas advert ever, it is possible that the mighty John Lewis advert is losing its sparkle. Is it time for a new brand of Christmas advert? Something more reminiscent of Irn Bru’s take on The Snowman, something a bit different, something which doesn’t take itself too seriously. Or maybe something that doesn’t cost millions of pounds to make. What if, instead of Christmas adverts in November, we looked at things going on in November itself?
Adverts for Christmas food and gifts surely seem drab and monotonous compared to what adverts for the 10-day long Camel Fair in India might look like, with its textile sellers and livestock trading, there’s also a ‘longest moustache’ competition, I mean, this stuff is surely better than an Iceland ad featuring two C-list stars crooning ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’. Or if you’re really after the magical moments (and incredible insta pics) the annual Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai is a magical event with thousands lining the river to send lanterns into the air symbolising the release of negativity and fear- I wouldn’t mind hearing a bit more about that to be honest.
But that’s all so far away I hear you cry, I can go to Tesco in a day AND I can wear my joggers. This is true, and I wouldn’t for an instant dissuade you from doing that, but surely there are cooler ads to precede your music video in November than an advert for “Brussels Sprouts for only 89p!”. Either way, the steady presence of Christmas adverts throughout November largely serve to stress me out about my upcoming deadlines and exams in December. Call me Scrooge but I wouldn’t mind going at least one or two weeks of November without seeing an advert for ‘The Perfect Christmas™’ when my mind is very definitely on other things- that Camel Festival, for instance.
By Anya Brzeski