21 November 2011

The Grinch who told the truth about Christmas adverts

Charlie Brooker's rant about this year's Christmas adverts in yesterday's Guardian has become quite the talk around town! He's titled his article: "This year's Christmas adverts aren't adverts, they're 'events'. Ghastly events", and added a tagline that pokes fun at all the sappy cry-babies in Britain: "The John Lewis commercial doesn't make me cry. It's just an advert for a shop". You know, after all the emotional hype about this John Lewis advert that literally had grown men admitting to tearing up in front their teles, I expected more of a backlash against Brooker's witty cynicism. But No! People love it! Only days after tweeting away about how that advert "changed their lives", Britain has changed tune to laugh along with Charlie at the ridiculous spectacle of it all. I don't mean to call the country a bunch of hypocrites, not at all. Rather, I think it's the perfect example of how ready Brits are to laugh at themselves. It's a great quality and one that is characteristic of this country.

But Brooker doesn't restrict judgement to just John Lewis. Oh no, everyone get's a hit! Littlewoods, for openly advertising the "truth" about Santa Claus; Morrisons, for the inappropriate sexualisation of British food (not to mention cricketers); and Marks and Spencers, for cheap exploitation of momentary celebrity. He's harsh but he is hilarious!

Morrisons has got to be my favourite! I'm very curious to know whose idea it was to start this Christmas advert with a reference to a [very bad] Kevin Costner film from the 80s?? "If you build it, they will come!" Now, I know there is often a cultural confusion of the two sports, but the people at Morrisons do know that baseball and cricket are not the same... right? In fact, I'm kind of insulted by the comparison. And if you were in doubt about Brooker's interpretation of this ad as overtly sexual, take a closer look at the busty butcher making eyes at Freddie over the "British Beef". Yup, there's no two ways about that; food = sex. Can't say I completely disagree, but it's an unconventional and amusing representation of the Christmas Spirit.

The icing on the cake in this article is Brooker's shock and awe over who managed to produce the most appropriate advert this Christmas: Iceland! Well there's an ending no one was expecting! Well done Charlie, witty and refreshing as ever. 

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