Last week, the following conversation happened with my colleagues:
Coworker: “I’m so excited! I think the John Lewis Christmas ad will go up this week."
Me: "That’s cool.”
Coworker: “It’s not just cool. It means Christmas is here! It’s not really the Christmas season until you see the John Lewis Christmas ad.”
Later that week, the John Lewis Christmas Ad went live and did the impossible - it managed to be even MORE heartwarming than last year’s contender. We all gathered round a computer, watched the now infamous penguin romance story and like the rest of the UK, became a wee bit misty eyed.
It wasn’t even a contest. John Lewis had easily won the Christmas ad competition.
Then Sainsbury’s upped the game.
The supermarket chain launched this video today and essentially, it’s game over. Once again, my colleagues gathered round a computer to watch. This time, we didn’t get misty-eyed. We full-on cried. Tears, they were a plenty.
We can’t emphasize enough that this 1906 ad is for real guns. Not
cork guns or BB guns – actual, “hunt your own food and shoot a man down
in cold blood” guns. And this one is being placed beside a
sleeping child by a visibly conniving Santa, as if he’s preparing the
kid for some Christmas morning Hunger Games in which only the sole survivor gets the stocking.
The ad campaigns for both Asda and Morrisons celebrate the stereotypical long-suffering housewife slaving away unassisted for hours to keep the family fed and watered at Christmas – her sole eventual reward being the vague glow of a job well done as she watches the rest of the family basking in front of the telly like boneless hippos, silently farting warm bumfuls of gravy-infused methane into the atmosphere during the ad breaks in A Very Downton Christmas. In this world, wives are meek-but-cheerful servants (Asda mum doesn’t even get a proper chair to sit on during Christmas lunch; she has to perch at the side like a terrier begging for scraps) while their husbands are lazy, oblivious arseholes. Even Don Draper might offer to peel the spuds, for Christ’s sake. But no. Not in these ads. If they celebrated Christmas in Saudi Arabia, it might look a bit like this. Except for the bit where she drives to the shops, obviously.