(it’s funny because the alternative is abject poverty, a military dictatorship or a socially repressive state – we have fun here in the first world, don’t we?)
Hey everybody, it’s that time of year again when our screens are filled with disembodied heads complimenting women on shoes that are in no way practical to wear in the snow, nor can be worn by said head due to their absence of feet, people that haven’t aged in thirty years, and eye-watering cuteness that is nice for all of five seconds before you realise it was probably produced by a Vietnamese child working for four cents a week in a culture that knows about as much about Christmas as the BNP know about the history of Reggae; it must be Christmas!
And don’t think these adverts haven’t pissed me off enough individually to the extent that I won’t blog about them in detail; that will come later. Today, I’m using this annual day of semi-festive pinch-punch-first-of-the-month nonsense to issue a proposition: by law, Christmas adverts should not be allowed on TV, Radio or the Internet, until December the first.
Firstly, early Christmas adverts make people happy way too soon; I’ve not actually got anything against positive emotions (no, really, I don’t), but the intense buildup to Christmas means people are in a festive mood before it’s actually festive: early December is the time of University interviews, preparing for mock exams and stressing over the inevitable fixture buildup of the football season, not for the preparation of a single day’s celebration that’s still a full month away.
I feel there is an expectation these days to get Christmassy as soon as possible,which pushes everyone into a mad rush to buy stuff before it’s strictly necessary; and I know why they’re doing it, to encourage us to buy stuff from them before they can cut their prices in the two weeks leading up to the day itself.
Personally, I like Christmas and its exclusivity; I like having to wait a full year for it to come around; in a society where everything from Charity Week to NaNoWriMo is stretched out to last as long as possible, I still like having a few individuals days of the year to look forward to, like Christmas, birthdays and the day after my last A2 exam.
Also, releasing these adverts so early must be a strain for those involved in its production; from working with an incredibly unprofessional but hilarious film club for about 4 years, I know films take an age to make: the initial idea must be relatable, but innovative, the writing must be fast-paced, yet coherent, the directing must portray the company as x, not y, perhaps regardless of what the director themselves wants to do. Close viewing of M&S’s behind-the-scenes video for their advert reveals the clapperboard read ‘3rd September’ here.
This means those involved go through two Christmasses – they have to pretend to be interested in the holiday once for the cameras, then once again for that creepy relative who just won’t get their subtle hints that they don’t want them to come around every year.
There’s also an economic side to this – it costs money to produce something of the quality of the M&S advert (‘quality’ referring to the use of professional actors, directors and cinematographers), which only means the prices are likely to be higher in M&S to recoup this expenditure, or at least products will be reduced in price to a lesser extent than some other stores.
Coupled with the pretty crappy economy we’ve got now, an increase in prices for things is a little unwelcome, especially as we ‘gain’ such ‘wonderful’ two-minute screen fillers.
Socially, these adverts come too early: in the M&S behind the scenes piece, one actor calls the advert ‘iconically British’ and an advert that ‘everybody looks forward to seeing’. Sorry I didn’t look forward to a woman skip through fairy tales I’ve thankfully forgotten about this year, I guess I’ll just take my non-conforming arse away and celebrate a Pagan blood ritual instead, shall I?
Ultimately, we get in the Christmas mood, an understandable air of excitement and togetherness, too early, to the point that it runs out by Christmas day: we spend over a month building up to this event, until we become tired with waiting, so the day itself ends up as a fatigued mess of poorly-planned Turkey cooking and lost present-finding, or it gets built up so much that the cold reality that your Christmas won’t be nearly as wholesome and pleasant as the pricks in the Tesco advert’s becomes suicide-inducing.
There’s nothing wrong with looking forward to an event, but fanatically dreaming about it, crossing off a calendar, eating a little chocolate bunny each day, and watching a hare screw with the evolutionary process by waking a bear up months before it should medically be awake, using nothing more than a five-quid alarm clock from IKEA, is too much of a drain on our delicate human emotions; we flip out when our favourite character on a TV show dies, and you think over a month of Christmas excitement is a healthy amount of tinsel-based frivolity? Now you’re the one who’s being unreasonable.
I do like Christmas though, but perhaps my favourite thing about it is the fact that it is one day a year – in a culture where I’m likely to watch seventy football matches a year, it’s a nice treat to know that I’ll only get seventy-odd Christmasses before I sod off to the great cynical attic in the sky. The insane earliness of Christmas adverts means the celebration of the birth of a religious figure is lost in a month of stupidly high expectations about the colour of flashing rectangle you’ll get from your cash-strapped but ever-loving parents, and this is a month of economic strain and poor prioritisation that I reckon we could all do without.
After all, the ancient Greeks were pretty happy without a month of pre-Christmas adverts, or the concept of Christmas in general.
Festive links of extreme anti-Marxism (gain plus five whenever you oppress the urban masses):
– Tesco advert (which 1,233 sorry bastards are subscribed to Tesco’s YouTube channel?)
– Charity Week (I feel this good thing will get lost in this post of overwhelming annoyance)