Friday, 11 November 2011

Don't watch that, watch this

Anyone seen the new John Lewis ad? It's a mawkish, emotionally manipulative tale in which a boy waits desperately for Christmas, and we're led to believe he's a greedy little bastard until it turns out that he's simply bursting to give his parents a present. Overlaid with a folk-naif cover of the Smiths' 'Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want'. (And I don't want to be too picky, but a song starting with 'Good times, for a change' is hardly appropriate for a deep recession).

So your usual Christmas ad then: attempting to disguise naked consumerism with warm fuzzy feelings. After all, a child shouldn't be expected to express love for his parents without a bloody big box of gifts, despite being economically inactive.

However, an alternative narrative is viable. By replacing the tinkly music (and how Morrissey must be turning in his grave hearing his mournful self-pity turned into a feel-good gizmo-flogging tool) with the organ from The Shining, it soon becomes clear that this troubled, lonely child is going to present his sinister parents with a dog's head, or something equally disturbing. That's the real spirit of Christmas.

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