Having gobbled up this year’s round of Christmas adverts, we feel a little bit down. So many of them seem to be serious, worthy or even slightly mawkish.
John Lewis gives us sweet, sad animals, redolent of the nightmare-inducing Watership Down or the bloodbath that was The Animals of Farthing Wood. The bleak, grey rabbit seems less despondent at his friend’s hibernation and more conscious of impending nuclear obliteration. Boots shows us a rapscallion Hoodie proving his naysayers wrong in a terribly earnest way. Even Marks and Spencer’s fantasy-fest seems quite grown up, quite starchy and a little too scared of scuffing a heel.
And all of this seems a bit out of touch with the rest of culture. Elsewhere we are seeing multiple senses being stimulated at once, total escapism being embraced, and an overall sense of playful frivolity fighting against the bleakness of austerity.
Our favourite ad this year is Cadbury’s. With Marshmallow World blaring, we see two small boys do what kids do best at Christmas – mindlessly, ecstatically ripping off wrapping paper.
Next year we hope to see some proper, unadulterated joy and Christmas spirit. We want to hear Slade or Wizzard, we want fun and tinsel and some animals that raise a smile not provoke a tear.