World exclusive! Ebenezer Scrooge on the Christmas ads

In another More About Advertising exclusive, guest reviewer Ebenezer Scrooge gives his opinion of a selection of the Christmas ads.

First, Morrisons. Now I believe this to be a respectable food emporium but this ad seems to feature two men who appear to be criminals. I have seen exactly the same two men on that Television thing in Australia in what looks like a camp in the jungle. Obviously, they have been transported for some heinous crime, otherwise they’d still be in England. Shame on Morrisons for employing two felons to appear in their advertising. And even more shame for producing such a boring ad.

Scrooge rating: Three Bah Humbugs.

Next, Tesco. What’s going on in this ad is beyond me. I understand the same is true of the management as to what’s going at Tesco. Anyway, this ad starts with a man in a loft. Then we see another man with a reindeer. Then lots of switches. Then lots of lights. Finally we see a Tesco store ablaze with lights. A lady’s voice tells us “let’s get the lights out and hats on.” I ask you, what on earth is that all about? The lights may be on at Tesco, but nobody’s home.

Scrooge rating: Five Bah Humbugs.

Third, Lidl. This ad begins with a large house – presumably potentially subject to Mr Milliband’s Mansion Tax – tied up with a big red ribbon. Then we go inside the house to see people eating and drinking lots of stuff. Now, this is where I start getting really confused, because they begin to mention the names of Lidl’s competitors, Waitrose and Marks and Spencer. I don’t know much about advertising but I would have thought it unwise to advertise your competitors in your ad. I referred this matter to my advertising expert. He explained that you are supposed to believe that the food and drink in the ad comes from M&S and Waitrose, and then find out that it’s actually from Lidl, which is much cheaper. I have to say this ad did very Lidl for me.

Scrooge rating: Four Bah Humbugs.

Fourth, Aldi. In many ways this ad is indistinguishable from the Lidl one, except that when you reach the end there’s a band playing, and they don’t mention any competitors. It finishes with a man, who I am told is a popular musical entertainer, playing a piano and saying “Merry Christmas everyone.” To which I say Bah Humbug everyone.

Scrooge rating: Three Bah Humbugs.

Fifth, Marks & Spencer. Do you believe in fairies? I can’t say that I do, but M&S obviously do. This ad shows what looks to be a fairy workhouse. (I believe these are called factories these days.) A couple of fairies clock in, take off their coats, and are revealed to have wings. They then set about flying around London, as far as I can see, causing havoc. As I mentioned above I now have one of these television thingys and in one scene the fairies deliberately fuse a family’s TV aerial, forcing the poor kids out onto the freezing cold snow covered streets. I’d give them bah humbug if they did that to my TV. And you know the worst thing about this ad? Marks and Spencer can’t even get their name right in their own ad. They sign off by calling themselves Magic & Sparkle. I ask you, how careless is that?

Scrooge rating: Four Bah Humbugs.

Sixth, Harvey Nichols. Ah, this is more like it! An ad that reflects the true spirit of Christmas – being totally selfish. The long and the short of this ad is that a girl prepares an elaborate Christmas Card. The card, in no uncertain terms, tells her granny to buy the girl a pair of what I heard to be a pair of Charlotte Olympia Otavia platform shoes, whatever they may be. I imagine they must be special shoes that ladies wear when waiting to catch a train. I have to say that Granny struck me as a bit suspect, anyway. Why else would you live in a house with a pink front door? But she seemed to take the hint. On reflection though, I don’t like this ad much. Could I be any clearer? I don’t think so.

Scrooge rating: Five Bah Humbugs.

Finally, John Lewis. I seem to be mellowing in my old age. I quite like this ad. But there is a serious flaw in the idea of keeping a live penguin in the house. A couple years back, a pigeon flew through my window at home. I had one awful job getting it back out again. It was there for hours. And during that time it deposited enough shit to build a guano mountain. A penguin is also a bird, albeit a flightless one. There would be crap everywhere. But maybe it isn’t a live penguin. Right at the end of the ad the penguin appears to have visited a taxidermist and shrunk in the process, so maybe he was a pretend one all they way through.

Scrooge rating: Five Mince Pies, but not from Lidl, Aldi, Tesco or M&S. Anywhere but.

Ebenezer_Scrooge_by_vampirekingdomScrooge spoke to Mike Everett, creative partner at Anatomised.

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