The Definitive Guide to 2014’s Christmas Ads

With the Christmas period nearly upon us, the past couple of weeks have seen the beginning of the traditional onslaught of seasonal advertising. Various retailers are battling it out in an attempt to attract customers to their stores and make the excessive amounts spent on their advertising campaigns worthwhile – all to varying success.

Sainsbury’s

The Story?

A reproduction of the famous Christmas Day football match held between enemy front line soldiers in 1914.

Final message?

‘Christmas is for sharing.’

If indeed Christmas is for sharing, British soldier Jim has been somewhat short-changed, as he walks away without a single piece of his treasured chocolate bar. Sainsbury’s would have done well to actually look up the definition of ‘to share’ before deciding upon their slogan – the Oxford Dictionary places particular emphasis on the word ‘portion’. I’m also a little bit miffed and confused as to what Sainsbury’s themselves are sharing with me?

John Lewis

The Story?

The advert’s hero is a little boy, called Sam, who has no friends other than a stuffed penguin, called Monty. Sam decides that Monty needs a female companion in order to be happy, and consequently gives Monty a lady penguin for Christmas. Ostensibly a sweet and generous act, in reality Sam is rather selfishly giving a Christmas present to himself, since Monty isn’t alive and has no feelings.

Final message?

‘Give someone the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of.’

If people are going to take offence at Sainsbury’s beautifying one of the most atrocious events in global history in order to sell groceries, attention must also be paid to John Lewis advocating sex trafficking in order to sell their goods. If having a female delivered in a box is the Christmas Monty has been ‘dreaming of’ then he’s a sleazy, morally corrupt penguin who is certainly not a suitable candidate for a little boy’s best friend. John Lewis’ insensitivity to the current plight of penguins must also be acknowledged. Forcing Monty to jump on a trampoline in the height of summer glaringly overlooks the fact that in the past fifty years, half the population of penguins in the Antarctic has been depleted due to global warming. Both Sam and John Lewis would have done better to adopt a real penguin for only £4 a month by following this link.

Marks and Spencer’s

The story?

Some good looking models dressed as fairies fly over a city delivering magic and sparkle to people’s Christmases, including turning off some children’s electrical goods and creating a snow blizzard to encourage them to go and play outside in the dark and freezing cold.

Final message?

‘Christmas is better with Magic and Sparkle.’ #FollowtheFairies

Yet again Marks and Spencer seem to be struggling to come to terms with who their targeted audience is. Whilst attractive young models might get away with flashing their knickers to an entire city as they fly over the rooftops in miniskirts, no average M&S shopper (i.e. middle aged to elderly) should be encouraged to do the same thing. The part of the advert that left me the most confused, however, is what the woman is supposed to be doing in her bed at approximately 25 seconds.

Iceland

The Story?

Peter Andre marvels over the prices of some gateaux in Iceland whilst various remarkably un-mysterious girls marvel over him being in a supermarket he definitely never sets foot in.

Final message?

‘Fantastic Festive Frozen Desserts. That’s why Peter goes to Iceland.’

An unusually predictable message from Iceland, but they do deserve some credit for an impressively juvenile attempt at alliteration. The advert signals a new low in the lives of both Pete and Iceland, especially as the gateaux look disgusting. ‘What’s not to love about a strawberry daiquiri dome [gateaux]?’, Pete asks. I’m going to go ahead and suggest, ‘quite a lot’.

Waitrose

The story?

An incredibly shy girl, who yet again has no friends, is picked on by her nasty schoolteacher to make all her classmates some gingerbread men. Instead of making friends with some children of her own age, as every viewer wants her to, she is befriended by a kind shop assistant (sorry, ’partner’) in Waitrose who persuades her to get Mummy to spend a fortune on silver balls and edible glitter. The girl then devotes hours to baking some gingerbread men (with no help from anyone, in the spirit of Christmas Cheer), which she ultimately uses to buy the love and respect of her classmates.

Final message?

‘When you own something you care a little more. Everyone who works at Waitrose, owns Waitrose. So they care more.’

A reference to the John Lewis Parternship’s employee-owned business scheme, where all employees own a share in the company, this message sounds remarkably like a verbal reasoning test – A, B, or C?

A – True (the statement follows logically from the information or opinions contained in the passage)

B – False (the statement is logically false from the information or opinions contained in the passage)

C – Cannot say (cannot determine whether the statement is true or false without further information)

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