In their attempt to convince us to shop in their stores, Littlewoods advertisers have, in my mind, created a crass Christmas campaign that champions commercialism. Doesn’t anyone buy board games anymore?
It must have been an interesting discussion at Littlewoods’ HQ when its advertising planners – misty-eyed with hoped-for profits – came up with its Christmas advertising campaign.
Imagine the high fives and whoops of joy as Littlewoods ticked off the components of its latest ads. School Christmas play? Check. Cute-as-a-button, bright-eyed kids in costumes? Check. Singing? Oh yes. Catwalk model parents? Check. Unbridled, utterly unashamed, gadget-laden, gimme gimme gimme commercialism? Double check that.
Barefaced Christmas commercialism
Littlewoods’ Christmas Gift Ideas advertising campaign (embedded below) is a triumph of barefaced commercialism that to my mind chucks aside any Christmas spirit in an attempt to pester parents to splash out on expensive techno toys.
The result is adorable children thanking their mums for buying £1,000 laptops, cameras, Xbox consoles and smartphones. Or, as Littlewoods humbly puts it, ‘the things they really want this Christmas’. Mum just looks on with glowing pride – presumably because her credit card statement hasn’t arrived. Here it is, in case you’ve been lucky enough to miss it so far:
That Christmas and advertising go hand-in-hand is nothing new. Even that red-clad, chubby image of today’s Santa complete with white trim is itself a mere product of Coca-Cola’s 1930s advertising genius. But as families are being squeezed financially in the run up to Christmas, advertising is getting more blatant – and desperate.
Can Santa deliver?
Worryingly, the expectations being set around Christmas toys and gadgets for kids are sky high. Consoles, cameras, phones, tablets and PCs are now making the lists to Santa at the expense of more traditional – and arguably more fun – gifts, such as board games, crafts, books, puzzles and models. The increase in Christmas expenditure on toys – an average of £168 per child in 2010 – is a huge challenge for many families.
To me, this ad from Littlewoods flies in the face of its corporate claim of having ‘something for every family and home’ – because viewers will be left cold at the staggering costs of the products it is pitching. One YouTube commenter reckoned it would cost over £2,000 to mirror the generosity of the Littlewoods’ mum.
Sure, we can’t escape cheesy Christmas ads that desperately seek to exploit the season of goodwill. But, I believe, companies like Littlewoods would be better to reflect the genuine challenges families face in gift-giving this Christmas, rather than piling on the pressure to splash out on gadgets.