Christmas adverts – cute but calculated

the-guardian

Credit: The Guardian

They call it the joy of giving. That lovely idea that you will spend ages picking out the perfect gift, knowing that your loved ones’ eyes will light up on Christmas morning when they see what you’ve given them. That you will feel all warm and fuzzy inside after buying them what they’ve always wanted.

Except it’s all a lie, isn’t it?

This is what companies and businesses want people to think. In reality everyone spends the weeks before Christmas in a festive haze, drunk on Christmas spirit, hastily buying what the adverts say is the latest craze this year – even if it is a bit above budget.

Christmas adverts have become an event in themselves. They arrive as soon as Halloween is over, announcing themselves in a flurry of snow and sparkles. The adverts themselves are big-budget productions, costing millions of pounds and featuring well-loved actors and singers. Quickly after their release they are dissected on social media. Is it as good as last year’s advert? What does it mean? What is it supposed to make me feel?

Peace? Love? Joy? Probably. But it’s main purpose is to make the viewer feel like buying. After all, if these adverts didn’t increase their profits, then big companies just wouldn’t bother. So how do these cutesy adverts convince you to consume like Santa on Christmas Eve?

By presenting the latest products early in November, it’s a reminder that Christmas is coming, and the pressure is on to buy, buy, buy. Hurriedly getting a gift on Christmas Eve just isn’t going to cut it – the only way to put the appropriate amount of love and thought into each present is by planning in advance. Buy now! The purchase may be regretted, but by then the receipt will probably have been lost in a pile of Christmas cards and wrapping paper.

Christmas adverts almost always contain children, the elderly, or animals for the ultimate ‘aww’ factor. By charming everyone with a bear and a hare, or an old man on the moon, they are associating Christmas gifts with ideas like friendship and love. It’s true that this is what Christmas is all about, but by pushing these feelings alongside the latest games console, it does leave a bit of a bad taste in the mouth.

Behind every Christmas advert is a message about the true meaning of Christmas struggling to get out. Family, friendship, love and generosity is what Christmas is all about, not the extreme present buying. Unfortunately, nowadays we can’t separate one from the other – it seems we can only show our love for each other through the gifts we buy. Christmas is better when you think about how thankful you are for what you have already, rather than what you’ve just received. After all, the baby Jesus received gold, frankincense and myrrh on Christmas day – he was content without a shiny new iPhone from the Apple Store!

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