Taking Aim at the Festive Adverts, Again, Again.
Christmas already? You know the drill. I put over a decade’s worth of experience to work doing a professional analysis of the formulaic gong-bait churned out by agencies to get Twitter clicks and YouTube likes. I did it in 2016, I did it in 2017, I’m explaining why it’s not a great way of delivering an upturn in sales on the HNW blog, and I’m doing it again here. Because I’m nothing if not consistent.
And a quick reminder. I don’t touch John Lewis here, because they’re not even adverts any more. This year’s just a microbiopic about Elton John, which I did talk about in a video…
A Professional Analysis of 2018’s Christmas Adverts
Tesco – However you do Christmas
What it is: It’s basically last year’s advert repackaged with a parping cover of a power-ballad, and a through-line about inevitable Christmas arguments. Ooh, aren’t we all the same deep down even though some of us are psychopaths who want yorkshire puddings with turkey for Jesus’ sake Laura we’ve been together 13 years why don’t you get it into your head that you have yorkshire puddings with BEEF not poultry. Ahem.
What they want you to think: “Wow! Tesco really understands that Christmas is one of those universally stressful times but it’s all worth it in the end because we get to have a turkey butty and watch Doctor Who. Just like last year.”
What you actually think: “I’ll go to the supermarket that’s nearest to my house unless there’s a special offer on beer/turkey/wine/cake/gin at somewhere slightly further away. Just like last year.”
Sainsbury’s – The Big Night
What it is: Not a repackaged version of last-year’s catchy singalong that I inexplicably loved. This is a different singalong, framed around some weird bizarre Christmas play in which a kid dresses as a plug. It’s just mental. There was definitely snow falling on the desk when this one got pitched, if you catch my drift.
What they want you to think: “Hey, isn’t Christmas a bit naff, eh? Don’t we all say it’s naff, eh? We say ooh, Christmas is naff, eh? Like that song by the New Radicals, eh? But when it kicks in, yeah, when it actually kicks in, eh? Christmas is brilliant. Really brilliant. Eh? And so are plugs.”
What you actually think: “I’ll go to the supermarket that’s nearest to my house unless there’s a special offer on beer/turkey/wine/cake/gin at somewhere slightly further away.”
Aldi – Kevin the Carrot (Episode III)
What it is: An irritating carrot returns to save his girlfriend from last year by running past a load of cheap Aldi food before making a rubbish nut joke.
What they want you to think: “Aldi’s still great value. None of that cheap food looks cheap. I reckon we can get away with Aldi prosecco again this year. I really won’t think about the supposed protagonist of this advert being peeled alive, diced and boiled, and the bleak message that gives off.”
What you actually think: “I’ll go to the supermarket that’s nearest to my house unless there’s a special offer on beer/turkey/wine/cake/gin at somewhere slightly further away. I’m not getting smacked so that I can own a plush carrot though.”
Morrisons – Christmas, Morrisons Makes It
This is genuinely the same advert as last year. Morrissons, I salute you.
What it is, was and forever will be: A small girl does her Christmas play and celebrates with a gluten-free mince pie.
What they want you to think then, now and in the future: “Morrisons really understand the challenges of raising a small child with gastric distress and dreams of being an actor. I’m so charmed that I’ll forget stage to mince pie is a total non sequitur and I won’t even ask if they’ve got stuff with gluten in for those of us who can metabolise things other than cardboard.
What you actually think: “I’ll go to the supermarket that’s nearest to my house unless there’s a special offer on beer/turkey/wine/cake/gin at somewhere slightly further away. And I need an excuse to not go to that bloody nativity play this year. Because it’ll be exactly the same as last year, with that bloody gluten-free kid mangling her one line while her ageless brother whispers from the audience.”
Heathrow – The Heathrow Bears Return
What it is: A teddy bear family completely misses the point of going on holiday or living somewhere where it doesn’t rain constantly and fly back to Britain, loading up with over-priced airport biscuits on the way..
What they want you to think: “Hey, what better way to not add to any pre-Christmas stress or expense than by booking a flight, abandoning your warm, sunny home and forcing yourself upon your family? Surely £50 of shortbread is a fair exchange for staying rent-free in their spare room for a week?”
What you actually think: “I’d murder my family if it meant I could have Christmas on a deserted island with no bloody adverts.”
Right. That’s your lot. Merry Christmas.
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