Adverts or Events? A Rantfest.
My sister - to my utter shame - says (online and to anyone who will listen) that is only Christmas when she sees the Cola advert, The Holidays are Coming. Shudder. It does seem that adverts are now events. The recent British Airways advert ACTUALLY HAD ADVERTS. It also has a making of film online. 64,000+ views. SHUDDERSHUDDER.
I know I am a tough nut but, since becoming a parent (a year ago - I know!), I now am a mummy who cries at things about children. I do get sentimental. I used to scorn it, now I sob. The John Lewis advert = me, an emotional mess in front of my giggling (and pointing) husband. Maybe I should have sat next to Charlie Brooker. I would be laughing for another reason then:
I heard it coming before I saw it: reports reached me of people blubbing in front of their televisions (Ed’s note: Sorry Charlie), so moved were they by this simple tale of a fictional boy counting the hours until he can give his parents a gift for Christmas. Given the fuss they were making, the tears they shed, you’d think they were watching footage of shoeless orphans being kicked face-first into a propeller. But no. They were looking at an advert for a shop.
An advert for a shop. That’s all the John Lewis thing is, and as such it’s no more moving than the “So Near, So Spar” campaign of the mid-1980s. Anyone who cries at this creepy bullshit is literally sobbing IQ points out of their body. Is this really what we’ve become – a species that weeps at adverts for shops? A commercial has only made me feel genuinely sad on one occasion – 25 January 1990, when a falling billboard nearly killed ‘Allo ‘Allo star Gorden Kaye.
Fortunately Kaye recovered. Unlike the family dog in that advert. Yes, it’s clear to me that the box at the end of the John Lewis ad actually contains the severed head of the family dog, and that this advert is actually a chillingly accurate short film about the yuletide awakening of a psychopath-in-training. In July the dog was butchered with a breadknife: the deranged young assailant has been waiting since then to present his “trophy” to his parents. Those are the facts. And anyone who thinks I’m lying, bear this in mind: I have asked John Lewis directly (over Twitter) to confirm or deny whether there’s a dog’s head in that box, and so far it has maintained a stony silence on the issue. Which speaks for itself. So don’t sob for the syrupy Christmas story – sob for the slaughtered hound, you selfish and terrible idiots.
I do think that some of these marketing strategies are a bit - well - smug and over indulgent. Phew. That’s better. Sigh.
If you want to look at advertising, or any other media form, here are a few of my favourite resources on EnglishEdu. No blubbing. No syrup. Promise.
Link: John Lewis Advert
Link: The Making of the JL Advert (I kid you not)
Link: The Holidays Are Coming
Link: BA 2 | Yes, it also has a making of video
Tags: adverts, adverts or events, british airways advert, british airways making of advert film, coca cola holidays are coming, john lewis advert, magazine ads survey template, making of jl advert, media analysis, media non fiction activities,