Christmas ads betray a lack of awareness of the public mood

Once upon a time, when it was the right thing to do to make all Christmas ads sentimental, it was just a question of deciding which one was the cutest; there was no science involved in determining their commercial value, because you can’t measure cute. Or maybe you can; measuring the volume of the Aaaah?

Anyway, Christmas ads are as silly as Christmas and all the more fun for that. Now, a darker side is emerging, one that shows some retailers to have tin ears over how people are feeling. OK, here is another unmeasurable soft metric, because everyone is feeling different. Some people are having the time of their lives in lockdown, while others are watching their livelihoods and families disintegrate.

Retailers try to read the mood

Into this spiky environment comes the retailer, hoping to smooth the troubled waters with a dose of schmaltz that is fully heart centred. And what choice do they have? Well this year, we get something different – Aldi featuring a cute robin being offered a peck of a mince pie by a cute little girl inside the window. Except the window is locked, the lesson clearly being that low prices are more important than cute ads.

And these are just the early ads; there are more to come, and the sentiment will no doubt fluctuate wildly as we approach the end of Lockdown 2 in hopes that the Government will reset everything to normal until after Boxing Day.

January judgement

My point is, we still do now know whether the British are planning a massive splurge to make up for their monkish behaviour over the last nine months, or whether they will feel they need to take even greater care of their pennies once furlough finally ends for good. Of course, there is room for both types of behaviour, and all types in between, but we will not know who until mid January whose Christmas ads paid off and which will win the klunking fist award.

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