Everyone here knows that we have moved away from the God fearing ideals associated with the catholic Christmas- our merriment comes from the Father Christmas figure we see every year on the Coca-cola trucks amid the December sales. No one looks forward to a religious ceremony when they are thinking about the presents under the glamorously lit tree. None of this is unusual of course, since many in the UK see Christmas as a time with family, spent merrymaking and having a good time. That would also be the message behind so much of the holiday advertising, in particular of the supermarkets who have an opportunity every year to sell as many wreaths and turkeys as they can manage.
Strangely enough, all the Christmas advertisements call on the sentimentality you associate with Christmas- large family dinners, snow, caroling and unity with everyone. Each year the supermarkets try to out do each other with the Christmas campaigns- how could we blow a little of that fairy dust (literally) into people’s heads? M&S has taken up on the fairy dust idea, with their two fairies Twitter handle giving out free gifts to their possible customers.
No one does it better than John Lewis though, who brought out the Bear and Hare advertisement last year achieving a roaring success, and decided that their animal theme was working. This year they have brought Monty and Mabel, the love struck penguins! You truly believe their love for each other when Monty the penguin finds Mabel in a box under the tree. Usually this would cause the animal welfare societies to crow on about giving children a bad example, especially since so many young animals as given as presents and then abandoned. However, seeing the baby penguin find the one love he was yearning for makes everyone hearts melt like butter. Who wouldn’t want to find the perfect gift like he did for Christmas?
That simple phrase- ‘found it!’ is used in the Debenhams adverts to show just how easily and quickly you can find the perfect gift in their store. After all, is that not the hardest part of Christmas? So many people complain of not being able to find the perfect gift for their loved ones, and here is a advert from a store saying it’s so easy… Persuasion is a big tool here- after all, Christmas is the busiest time of the year for such large companies who rely on their advertisements pulling power to attract people to their stores.
Another one worth mentioning is Sainsbury’s, who have used the centenary of World War I to create the well known story of The Christmas cease-fire. The soldiers come together from opposing sides to celebrate the joyous day together, as a one day truce. Breaking those national differences made the day unforgettable- now Sainsbury’s will be the compassionate party, with their rendering of the bilingual silent night and the British- German football game.
However I think everything should be taken with a pinch of salt- as much as I love it when the Lebkuchen come into the shops and the lights go up in Regent’s street in London, everything here is still geared towards the constant business of making money, even when shedding a tear for the soldier or smiling faintly for the happy penguin.