Wednesday, 12 November 2014
The Spirit of Christmas Present/s
It's time to dust down the baubles, pull on your Rudolf onesie, grab a mug of mulled wine and sit blubbing your eyes out to the latest Christmas ads. Well, if you're in the UK, that is.
As usual, John Lewis have come up with a tear-jerking spot, begging the usual question of whether this isn't actually part-funded by Kleenex. This year it's a cute kid and an adorable penguin called Monty (we know the name from the film title on YouTube. Not sure if it's clear if you're just watching on TV in the old-fashioned way, though.)
I suspect that retailers all over the world are now asking their agencies to "do a John Lewis" and there's certainly a touch of John Lewis schmalz in the latest spot for Tchibo:
But I wonder. Are Germans just as susceptible to this annual weep-fest as us Brits? Have a look at this Christmas spot from Otto, Germany's leading mail-order/online retailer. It starts very much in the John Lewis vein with cute kid and dad. Wistful music. Jingle bells. But then what happens?
When I first saw this, I thought it was dreadful. All that Christmas magic and father-son bonding destroyed by the only spoken line. But then again, it reminded me of the reality. A few years ago, children were writing Christmas Wishes at our local Christmas market. The heartfelt pleas for "my Oma to come out of hospital" "World Peace" and "for my parents to stop arguing" were joined by my son's contribution: "everything from Lego Star Wars."
Maybe in a pragmatic country like Germany, Otto are right. Forget all that misty-eyed tra-la-la about homemade presents and cute kids who put others' wishes before their own, or who have such a brilliant sense of make-believe that a toy penguin becomes real. That's all it is - make-believe for people nostalgic for Christmases that never were. Otto can provide what will really make your offspring's eyes light up - and with the minimum of bother.
But that doesn't stop me dreaming of a white Christmas.