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.


Sue Imgrund said...

And I've just seen this ad from Sainsbury's which is stunning:

Barbara said...

Hi Sue, I’ve not seen the John Lewis ad on TV yet, thanks for sharing it.
I laughed when I read your son’s contribution to the Christmas wishes, my own son (now 40) would have written something very similar when he was a boy.
I’ve always loved Christmas but the last few years I’ve felt rather sad. Our grandsons are grown up and our little granddaughters are in Australia, and it’s just not the same without children in the house.

Sue Imgrund said...

Well, there's always an Australian Christmas on the beach - or waiting for great-grandchildren! ;)
Have you seen the Sainsbury's ad - there may be discussions raging about whether it's cashing-in and war and marketing don't mix, but I find it a wonderful piece of film.

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

Enjoyed this post a lot - it made me think about the Christmas ads in a whole new light. Have you seen this year's Waitrose ad?

Sue Imgrund said...

Thanks Sally - I see you're out in Dubai - I don't know about you, but these Christmas ads do induce a craving for mince pies and a UK Christmas (although I must say that the Germans do a pretty good Weihnacht!) . Waitrose, yes, the Gingerbread Stall - another tear-jerker.