Why the 'Christmas Advert' should not be celebrated

The yearly Christmas adverts have managed to ingrain themselves as a cultural British symbol. They mark the end of the year, celebrations of the festive season and the long countdown to Christmas itself. But for me, Christmas adverts symbolise more than just the holiday season. Here's why I think they shouldn't be celebrated. The cycle […]

Kayleigh Fraser
4th December 2020
The yearly Christmas adverts have managed to ingrain themselves as a cultural British symbol. They mark the end of the year, celebrations of the festive season and the long countdown to Christmas itself. But for me, Christmas adverts symbolise more than just the holiday season. Here's why I think they shouldn't be celebrated.

The cycle is always the same. Giant conglomerates produce so called 'heart-warming' presentations for print and television every year to try and capture the meaning of Christmas. Narratives vary - sometimes you see a child re-capturing the festive feeling, someone receiving a very apt gift that symbolises the year's events or in some cases, a clumsy dragon being invited over for tea (talking to you, 2019.)

On the surface these may seem like warm and cuddly stories that show the true meaning of Christmas, but they're not. To a certain extent the narratives they create are lovely, but don't be fooled into thinking these companies care about that. It's all a game to them.

John Lewis' Christmas Advert 2019

John Lewis launched their first Christmas advert in 2007, and has become one of the most successful names when it comes to the festive period. Over the years they have produced stories about a man on the moon, and a young child on adventures with his penguin toy. Fenwick's is also renowned every year for their festive window displays, drawing in crowds in cities across the UK. Countless hours and money is spent on them.

Apart from John Lewis however, Aldi is now among the infamous names churning out an advert year after year. Sticking with a theme, Aldi has created the character of 'Kevin the Carrot', with viewers watching his festive adventures every Christmas.

Aldi's new advert for 2020

Yet with an advert comes a long string of marketing ploys. Fans can get their hands on a whole host of Kevin merchandise including soft toys of Kevin and the rest of the fictional carrot family.

A quick search on eBay shows nearly 5,000 results for 'Kevin the carrot', showing the story's popularity among viewers. Some are keen to take to twitter and celebrate snagging some of the sought after toys.

Now, tell me, does this look like the results of a simple festive advert? Year after year this all seems to be more of a scheme to me. I'm not naive enough to miss what the point of an advert is. Its purpose is to advertise and make money for the company. To that end, creating a brand new advert with different merchandise each year is the most overt money-grab of the modern age.

When social media announces the big countdown to the adverts, and speculation breaks out about 'whose will be best', the population are effectively counting down to spending money. That is what confuses me. Why are people celebrating a huge marketing influence and in the end, capitalism?

Tesco's Christmas Advert 2020

What makes a Christmas advert different to the ones you pay to skip using subscription services? How are they different to the ones that ruin your favourite live TV show? The simple answer: they're not. They all play the same function, work in the same ways, and induce you to purchase items you may not need.

Instead of spending money on Christmas campaigns, why don't they donate money to charities? Instead of spending thousands of pounds on window displays, Fenwicks could try and help the homeless who sleep outside their stores. Yet, in the end these adverts are heralded as monumental and impactive when I cannot see them like that at all.

Christmas has always been about more than presents. More than buying. This year, celebrate something that matters - not the illusion of an advert.

Featured Image: GeoGraph

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AUTHOR: Kayleigh Fraser
English Literature Student heavily obsessed with politics, progress and making positive change. Also slightly infatuated with iced coffee and guinea pigs.

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