Youâll no doubt remember last yearâs John Lewis Christmas advert. Eloquently entitled âThe Long Waitâ?, it was, in fact, so touching that it made Phillip Schofield and Cat Deeley weep, and in doing so redefined the entire concept of adverts.
No longer is advertising a medium used to sell undesirable tat to idiots; itâs now a form of high art, soundtracked by insufferably twee and uninspired covers of good songs.
Now up there with some of the great innovators of visual media (Bergman, Fellini, Godard, etc.), John Lewis are back this year with an equally eye-watering short film. Itâs called âThe Journeyâ? and tells the story of a consumerist snowman who braves blizzards to pop into John Lewis and bring his snow wife back a present for Christmas.
As expected, it has received mostly positive reviews, unlike Asdaâs Christmas offering this year, which was lambasted by The Telegraph for implying that women do everything at Christmas, while men just sit around stuffing their faces.
I mean, itâs as if Asda didnât even consider The Telegraphâs male readership when they dreamed up an ad aimed at low-income mums. Of course, Morrisons are just as bad; their Christmas ad features a suicidal woman literally wrestling with a turkey as well as, it seems, an urge to stick her own head in the oven.
Pumped up on valium, sheâs eventually able to resist despair, concluding, as she gazes up at her awful family from across the dinner table, that she âwouldnât have it any other wayâ?.
God. Remember when Christmas ads were fun? Besides Debenhams with their unintentionally camp âmake Christmas fabulousâ? campaign, I canât help feeling that this is a miserable year for Christmas adverts. Gone, seemingly, are the days when shameless commercialism was an adâs primary function.
Remember that great Toys R Us one? Not the irritating monstrosity currently on our screens, where a grown woman tragically sings a song about not wanting to grow up, but the animated one with the giraffe and the indecipherable lyrics (âThereâs millions of debris all under one roofâ??).
How about that classic advert where the young boy stands on the Yellow Pages so that he can kiss a girl under the mistletoe?
You can bet that if that came out in depressing 2012, theyâd have had him bludgeoning her around the head with the spine of the book first â or thereâd be some kind of saddening conclusion where we find out that the boy is actually terminally ill. And then Phillip Schofield would cry.
Thankfully, the powers that be are yet to get rid of the âholidays are comingâ? Coca-Cola ad, which is surely enough to make anybody rise from their chair and excitedly chase after the nearest red truck down the road.
The ad for Hellman’s mayonnaise is another annual classic, and an advert that hasnât really changed since it first aired back inâI donât know, 1927? I donât even particularly like mayonnaise and yet I still donât consider it officially Christmas until this has been on the television.
But our American friends have us well and truly beat when it comes to Christmas commercials, as evidenced by this demonically festive nightmare from Vern Fonk Insurance. Youâll find no sappy Christmas message hereâno unbearable faux-folk music, no depressed mums â although it will still make you cry.