On sponsoring Christmas

Holidays are coming…

I know its very shallow of me, but every time I see the first screening of the Coca Cola ‘holidays are coming‘ advert, a little shiver of anticipation runs up my spine. Other TV adverts this year, though, seem to lay a greater claim. Morrisons (bottom right below) offers us ‘Christmas, brought to you by Morrisons’. Tescos have apparently been offering their ‘every little helps’ to families over at least 3 generations. Waitrose appears to be hosting Christmas at their place this year, whilst John Lewis cut to the chase with their charming , if bold, claim to know what it is all about.

CLICK for full image

CLICK for full image

Now anyone, whether Christian or not, who bleats about the commercialization of Christmas and expects such adverts not to appear is on a hiding to nothing.  Shops have to make money, many survive on the rush at Christmas, and we should not expect anything else. If anything, we should savour the creativity which allows them to sell the same product every year in a different way – and maybe even learn from it.

This year though, the implicit claim to ‘sponsor’ Christmas made me think how different the Christmas story might have been with product placement. How many high quality American  films and  TV dramas (and even novels) are afflicted with that particular scourge? If it had happened at Christmas:

  • Scene 1 : Enter Mary, dressed in a simple but elegant dress by [insert label here].
  • Scene 2: Joseph reclines on his [insert label here] bed, and receives a visit from the angel.
  • Scene 3: Mary rides on a donkey from [insert name of animal charity here].
  • Scene 4: After many unsuccessful attempts to book a room the [insert name here] Inn offers alternative accommodation.
  • Scene 5: On a far hillside, shepherds funded by [insert supermarket chain here] are grazing their flocks, when an angel appears.
  • Scene 6: Three wise men , guided by a [insert name here] GPS device linked to a satellite among the stars, make their long journey.

Sponsorship is likely to stop at that point’ as religious debates, persecution, torture and summary execution make for poor advertising. Makes you think though.

Meanwhile, my particular favourite advert for this year’s Christmas season is the one below. I love the way it subverts the language of ‘management-speak’ with the simple fun of playing together. Well done, Lego!

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