Have you ever noticed how few black people there are in Christmas adverts? Or Oriental or Asian?
I'm guessing that different racial demographics are a lot less valuable to the Christmas Cash Climax that this time of the years represents, with WASPs more likely to actually indulge in this celebration of the market economy, but once you've noticed it, it's hard to un-notice.
For all that the media is reasonably heterogeneous these days it's as if everyone closes ranks at Christmas. Look at the smiling white extended-family faces. You don't see many people in wheelchairs, fellas kissing one another, black families pulling crackers or Muslims, well, doing whatever it is that Muslims do on Christmas Day.
Not that this is a call for a token black face amid the sea of caucasians all over the airwaves - that would be almost as insulting. But a Christmas advert featuring only a black family seems unthinkable. As does the cold hard reality of what Christmas is for a lot of people - and sorry to be such a miserable fucker at this point - a lonely time.
Here's one that would take some real fucking balls - and guarantee my loyalty for many years to come. Instead of jizzing all of that cash on some hungry celebrities I'm calling out the supermarkets: Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Morrisons, Marksies. The lot of 'em.
Here's what you do with that cash. You take over a nice hotel in 30 towns and cities around the country. You use your own produce - the nice stuff, the free-range stuff, the expensive stuff - and cook a Christmas dinner for the local Salvation Army patrons. Homeless types, kids on the street, care home people, the elderly, George Entwistle; people like that. Roast turkey, some live entertainment, loads of booze, some crakcers, a few gifts and transport there and back.
What's the cost of that? Even if it were thirty grand a pop you're still quids in. And imagine all that lovely publicity. That's 2013's advert sorted - and a smile on the faces of thousands of people who might not have much reason to crack a grin. And, perhaps more to the point, we don't have suffer your annual smugathons that are as hard to digest as a three-day turkey-and-stuffing sarnie.
Go on, British supermarkets, do it. I challenge you. I dare you.
OK, on that bombshell I'm going to round up this Xmas ads from this year. If last year's Xmas ads are anything to go by it won't be pretty...
Alien sperms continue to swim around our television screens, like the smeary laptop screen of a man who knows the names of all his favourite porn stars and sends them a picture of his cock in the post every Yuletide.
I don't know why Argos is continuing to plough this furrow - to justify the hefty wodges of cash that have been already sunk into the concept presumably - but this seems to be a stinker on all levels.
It's annoying, it's bemusing, I don't see how it connects with the brand (perhaps, once, there was an idea that aliens would take to the 'wrong-way-round' Argos shopping experience, or something) and it feels well past its sell-by-date.
But, more to the point, it's trying to make a virtue of something that isn't particularly helpful. Surely the whole attraction of shopping online is that it's then delivered to your door at no extra cost? If you have to order online, not necessarily easy in the first place, and then physically go to an Argos store anyway what's the sodding point?
What's more, Argos' thing is that you have to look through a catalogue to find what you want, fill out a little form and then take it to the desk. It's that classic thing of making a virtue out of something that, on the face of it, is actually harder than the usual system (see also: Salt And Shake crisps).
But the Argos online shopping app removes that whole exchange. So not only is the online shopping thing not especially helpful, it also invalidates the whole point of Argos.
With this ad, Argos has just ejaculated in its own face.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 30
So far all I can find online is this effort from Tesco, which involved a Furbie and Lionel Richie (and doesn't that sound like a great internet rumour?).
I have seen a few other Tesco ads that end with a little Christmas hat perched jauntily on the Tesco logo, so I guess this is part of a multi-ad approach that eschews any big central campaign and will offer little snippets of deals, particular products and the like.
As such it doesn't give me a lot to get my teeth into, but I like the fact that the whole campaign isn't resting on some cash-splashing jamboree. But it's not especially memorable either, despite the nifty visual gag.
Tesco calls this advert 'Christmas 2012 Clubcard Exchange advert'. Yeah, and a Happy New BOGOF to you too.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 3
Iceland went a bit off the rails the last two years in its Christmas advertising: in 2010 suggesting some sort of chavvy David Lynch horror festival; last year assaulting us with Stacey Solomon's ginormous face.
I think Iceland has a problem - people think it's cheap: the food is cheap, the people who go there are poor; the brand is toxic. Just yesterday someone told me that they would 'never go into Iceland'. They've only got themselves to blame - for several years the brand has aligned itself with people who scream 'low-rent' - and thus its brand has acquired the same image.
As someone who writes about cars for a living I can tell you at length why being thought of as cheap is dangerous. To be thought of as offering good value, on the other hand, is very different. It's a subtle difference - ultimately a meaningless one - but one that brands get wrong time and again.
However - and this is a big however - this new ad from Iceland might just go some way to changing all that. This Xmas ad looks lovely, it puts product right at the heart of the ad and it's got one of the most calming, sentimentally satisfying noises ever accompanying it.
Pretty much a home-run. And not a hideous celebrity in sight. If there had been one this year my money was on Tulisa - as someone who's probably been seen by many slapping a cock across her own face she probably wouldn't have been the worst celeb Iceland had employed.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 1.1
A new entry - I don't remember seeing any Debenhams ads for a long time. As a new effort it's not bad, but it's very much a greatest hits of successful Xmas ad tropes. A nice train, snow, a glamourous lady running hither and thither and being delighted by what she sees...
At one point it threatens to go a bit Boots, with three women stalking rather jarringly - look at the costumes! - down a flight of stairs and the big John Lewis-style 'awwww' moment at the end.
Inoffensive - and a bit hard to remember who it's for. Which is fairly appropriate as I'd struggle to tell you what sets Debenhams apart from any other department store.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 2
Christmas adverts go austerity. This year we've spent all our cash on a donation to charity, says a voiceover. As if the mink-and-ermined Waitrose customers give a stuff.
I also have a feeling that there's something a bit disingenuous about all this - how much did it cost to buy up all the ad space to tell us you're not spending any cash on a fancy Xmas ad, eh, Waitrose?
Still, one in the eye for all the others who've spunked up a load of cash on celebs and a frankly insane amount of Christmassy milieu. And it's not far off my idea for 2013 - but this doesn't mean you're off the hook, Waitrose. Oh, no...
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 2.5
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: ∞
There are certain groups you can't possibly criticise these days. The Armed Forces, for example - rebranded as 'Heroes' in our modern parlance, seem to be utterly beyond reproach. I've got a lot of time for people whose chosen career paths have taken them into the army, navy or airforce, but I don't think it especially good for society that anyone is untouchable.
But woebetide anyone who has a pop at Mums. This previously-unknown phenomenon in society - actual people who you might pass in the street or live next door to, who have little people inside them and then 'give birth' to those tiny creatures - is now the most exalted in every facet of life.
See how they use their reproductive organs to conceive and then gestate foetuses who grow inside them for nine months before emerging in a bloody, slimey curtain to the spontaneous applause of everyone within a mile's radius.
The ability to fulfill one's sexual facilities seems to be on a par with parting the red sea these days. But there's more. Once they've had these wailing mucal balls extracted from them, these women actually return to work and even go shopping.
If I had my way, we would not rest until every photo posted to Facebook was of a unfocussed child frowning vaguely in the direction of a camera. Everyone who has ever brought a child into the world must be given an OBE. I demand a new Minister for Motherhood and that we replace Nelson atop his tower with a 40-tonne tribute to MumsNet.
Or we could just watch this fucking Christmassy Asda advert. For fuck's sake.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 23
Toys R Us
I can't tell if the people who do the adverts for Toys R Us are secretly setting us up for some sort of glorious return to the days of a smiling giraffe pointing at Connect 4, or whether they're just complete imbeciles.
Because this sexed-up ad for Toys R Us is like asking Dappy to give the New Year's Day message instead of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
A happy-slapping in advert form. Get rid of it, for the love of Geoffrey.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 42
We all know the form by now. An effort that is fairly explicitly trying to make you cry. A precision-guided Cupid's Arrow aiming to shatter your emotional aorta and cause a blockage of sludgey mawk in your left ventricle. A psychological heart attack in advert form.
In this one a snowman - bereft of a comedic genital carrot and possibly related to the Weeping Angels as no-one ever seems to see it move - fetches some gloves for his missus (also a snowperson, but with no snowtits in evidence), requiring a massive trek across, apparently, a bit of England that resembles the Alps.
Next year will be Barber's Adagio For Strings as a series of rostrum-camera'd sepia photos of beloved personalities who have passed away (Tommy Cooper, Eric Morecambe, the Dad's Army cast etc) ticks over in a starlit sky above a donkey sanctuary.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 8
Marks & Spencer
Blergh. Back to middle-class women dancing around like people who are so smug even Ian Hislop thinks it's a bit much. The 'stalking-towards-the-camera' meme, the dicking-about-in-jim-jams stuff, the endless smiling...
There's a half-hearted effort to make it a bit less Surrey-Commuter-Belt-ABC1s with some INXS in there, but really this is Marks and Spencer by the numbers. And those numbers are £39.99 for a scarf you know your Mam secretly dislikes.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 9
I suppose we should be grateful we're not getting the rat-a-tat-tat of Here Come the Fucking Girls again, but Boot's mission to align Christmas and your feelings for your loved ones with hairdryers strikes me as a tough sell.
There are some non-white faces here portrayed in a way that feels natural, so bonus points for that, but there are also a few odd things going on here.
Is the Mum who's in bed at first suffering from some debilitating ailment - is there a suggestion of a disease in remission here? And is the girl who suggests checking into a hotel naked? I'm genuinely not sure. If so, why? If not, then why does it look like they are?
All told, though, I think this is the Christmas advert I dislike the least.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 1.08
With a voiceover so earnest, it makes Kevin Whately talking about African children dying of dysentery sound like a Top 40 chart rundown, this Matalan ad is going for broke in pretending that it gives a fig about its customers' enjoyment of Christmas.
Frankly, I don't believe these massive multi-million quid corporations telling me they love me - and neither should you. So the whole ad is undermined by the transparency of the exchange between customer and vendor.
Matalan, you want my money, not my approval. Don't pretend otherwise - we'll get together a lot better. As it is, you're unlikely to earn neither this festive season.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 11
First things first. Having attempted to do away with Santa in its ad last year, suggesting that a 'lovely muvva' was responsible for all the Christmas shopping, the very first shot is of Saint Nick pulling up on a sleigh this year.
A wise move, I'd suggest, not because I really give a toss about whether children believe in a mythical being or not (see how easy it would be to include a smug Dawkins-esque rant here?) but because the naked commercialisation of young kids was one of the most egregious things I'd ever seen.
Still, Littlewoods is at it again here. Is that a mobile phone that some kids have bought AJ's Mum? Yes it is. How fucking lovely. A phone. I know this is a judgement call, but I don't find anything cute about shoehorning little kids into ads; I find it obnoxious.
What's more, Myleene Klass (it's worth pointing out that she's one of only three identifiable front-of-camera slebs on this year's lot), who I have no particular beef with, seems to have acquired that skeletal hawkish look that 30-something celebs on fad diets assume with the passage of time. To be quite honest, I think it makes her look a bit frightening. Have a few goose-fat-roasted-spuds this Xmas, Myleene.
An attempt to rein in the hideousness of last year's effort then. But there's still something a bit grasping about the whole thing; as if the very thing veneer over the it that could be peeled back to see a call-centre, a distribution depot, a foreign factory...
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 9
Woah, and you thought the Asda advert was bad. It would be easy to start crying sexism at this ad - and I don't doubt that many have already. Whether this is patronising to women or men, or whether you see this as a fairly realistic portrayal of what it is to be a woman at this time of year probably depends on your point of view.
I'm going to steer clear of all that stuff - I can see both sides - but I do think this is a bad advert. For fully 86 seconds of the 90 this Morrisons advert consists of, it's slating Christmas. Does the pay-off haul it back over the line? I'm not that sure it does, you know.
So, then, Christmas. An utter ballache, with a side-serving of chauvinism. Sheesh, where's that eggnog?
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 5
Time was we'd judge the start of the Christmas season by the appearance of crackers in shops; nowadays it's the appearance of the first Christmas adverts.
With fully 50 days before 2011's Yuletide there were Christmas adverts on our tellies; filmed in the unseasonally pleasant September and October across the country. Freddie Flintoff in a duffel coat, surrounded by fake snow, santas and mince pies. In St Albans. In September.
So, what festive delights await us this year? M+S had ditched Twiggy and Danni; the Sainsburys ad constitutes Jamie Oliver's swansong; what would John Lewis come up with this time?
Absurdly, Xmas adverts for the big supermarkets and department stores have become event television. But how big - and shit - have these events been this year?
By my money they've mainly got it right. Iceland has backed away from the insanity of last year's Donovan adverts; Marksies has ditched its middle-class smugathons; the overall tone is of restraint, when compared to last year anyway.
It's not all good. The Boots girls are still coming - perhaps due to the entry of Ann Summers into our advert marketplace - and there are still two truly diabolical efforts here.
Familiarity - and you can bet you'll become very familiar with these ads - is sure to breed contempt, even fury. By the fifth time you've seen the new Littlewoods or Toys R Us ads you'll be ready to hurl your chestnuts at the telly.
But with any luck this year's crop of Christmassy ads should leave you relatively unmolested come Christmas morning. Just pray no-one has a Halfords-style reaction when unwrapping presents.
It seems to be John Lewis' modus operandi to make viewers cry these days, with their ads ploughing a fairly shameless furrow that seems to work for them.
I think the strategy pretty canny. It's a rich seam of nostalgia, sentimentality and general warm fuzziness - all the stuff that makes Christmas what it is.
Next year's advert will apparently feature a sickly kitten being stroked in front of an open fire by Terry Wogan for a full 120 seconds, while Gary Jules' Mad World plays in the background.
Turd rating: One
Celebrities: Jamie Oliver
"Goto Sainsbury's for a magical Christmas feast," says this last effort from Jamie Oliver on behalf of the upmarket supermarket.
Nice idea, nice execution. Minimum Oliver. Good work.
Turd rating: One and a half
Celebs: Stacey Solomon
Where was there to go after last year's Xmas Iceland offering, featuring Jason Donovan as a perverted ringmaster? Well, back to basics really. Christmas parties, finger food, Stacey Solomon's enormous face - I'm fairly unsure Stacey and her family will be tucking into gammon over Xmas, mind.
I take exception to the horrible new Solomonised recording of Driving Home For Christmas - a song I always make sure I have on a CD when actually heading home on Christmas Eve.
Not especially egregious then - and a thankful step back from the Lynchian horror of last year - but I doubt any celebrity would ever be seen dead entering Iceland, which seems to be ever closer to some sort of underclass shopping experience every time I hazard upon one.
Turd rating: Two
Celebs: Delia Smith, Heston Blumenthal
I'm a bit nonplussed by this one, featuring Delia and Heston. It hinges everything on four distinct products and doesn't really compel me to find out more.
It looks a million bucks - a bit Downton Manor via Heath Robinson and Tim Burton - but it doesn't feel especially cosy.
A bit chilly, all told, like a Heston artichoke and air-dried Haribo truffle in liquid nitrogen.
Turd rating: Two
Celebs: Andrew Flintoff, Bruce Forsyth
Hmm. Jury's still out on this one. I suppose Freddie still has enough goodwill from the Ashes in 2005 and 2009 to get away with this - and some good decent, honest, thick Lancashire shtick probably doesn't do any harm, although it's a bit much that they actually correct Flintoff's awkward delivery.
Nice cameo from Brucey at the end and a fairly strong message - Freddie like pies! Legend! Meat! Christmas! Pastry! Brulliant! - unlike many of the ads featured here.
Turd rating: Two
Marks and Spencer
Celebs: X-Factor cannon fodder
It's fairly apparent that M+S and John Lewis are competing to be the winterval shopping experience and Marksies has really wheeled out the big guns for this X-mas effort.
Riding the X-Factor bandwagon has brought its own problems that rather trouble me (the singers either got a paltry £3K each or nothing, depending on who you listen to - Merry F'ing Xmas) but as an ad in itself it's well executed and reasonably inoffensive.
I just find it hard to shake the feeling that we're all implicit in an evil plan to make berks like Simon Cowell even more filthy rich than they are already. From somewhere in Brighton comes the sounds of Johnnie Robinson gently weeping.
Turd rating: Three
Celebs: None that I'm aware of
A novel, decent conceit but I'm not sure why a family of sperm are striding around shopping centres looking for Christmas presents.
There's one extremely strange - and rather disturbing - aspect to this. "Mmm, eggnog," says Father Sperm, Homer Simpson-style, absent-mindedly.
"Mmm, Bieber," says Ma Sperm, appreciatively. Actually, more than appreciatively. Lasciviously, you could almost say.
Now, I suspect Bieber is legal, but probably only just. What's more he looks about four. Just imagine the Dad lusting after Hermione Granger and see how you feel about that.
Turd rating: Three
Nice idea, nice execution but this is a terrible assault on the senses - the sort of thing the CIA used to blast at Manuel Noriega.
Turd rating: Three and a half
Celebrities: None that I'm aware of
I find it hard to believe that the Here Come The Girls tattoo doesn't have some sort of Pavlovian effect on half the population these days - its very presence like the foreshadowing of some horrific catastrophe.
Personally I'm inclined towards punching myself in the neck, but voiding of stomachs, noses, bladders and bowels are all empirically-proven side-effects of hearing this tune.
Since this one has a clear Great Escape theme to it I'm hoping there's a bonus ad that involved them all being taken out to the woods and machine gunned.
Turd rating: Four
I wonder if the Wachowski Brothers ever thought that their revolutionary Bullet Time trick photography invention would ever be used to shill a discount supermarket chain in a bizarre Christmas advert.
I'm guessing not, just as I'm guessing that no-one would have foreseen the inclusion of a mind-spinning Inception-style telescopic reality setting for an advert selling trouser-vendors.
I just find this confusing - and I don't get what it has to do with Matalan. Presumably all the people feature in it are asleep, bald, pale and nude - possibly in a gigantic monster-feeding embryo chamber.
Turd rating: Four
Toys R Us
Why, when you have a much-recognised and much-loved Christmas advert in the form of the ageless "There's a magical place; We're on our way there; With toys in their millions; All under one roof" ad, would you piss all that brand equity down the drain with a vile American rap waffling on about coupons?
Appalling. Inexplicable. Appallicable.
Turd rating: Four and a half
An absolute fucking disaster, unless the aim was to reposition Littlewoods as the most low-rent outlet on the marketplace.
The ASA has actually been moved to an issue a 'we don't like it, but we have to go along with it' rebuttal to complaints that this ad is killing Santa. And replacing it with what? A bloody credit card.
If this were Japan some ritual boardroom suicides would be going on about now. Possibly metaphorical, possibly not.
I never want to see this ever again.
Turd rating: 245,835,585,299,001
So, there you have it. A rotten bunch to be sure, but this could have been so much worse. No-one would ever pretend that Fukushima was a good thing - but the alternative doesn't bear thinking about.
And, just in case you think I'm overcooking things somewhat, take a look at this - and never, ever forget.
Well, well, well.
Don't look for him - he isn't there. Frankie Cocozza that is. Not happy with cutting his bits from the new M+S / X-Factor clustershag advert, poor old Francis has actually been painted out of the latest version of the ad, which is presumably causing some headaches at M+S headquarters.
Mark and Spencer's Christmas ad for 2011 is designed to be modular, so that when poor unfortunates get voted out - or dropped for not being sufficiently headline-grabbing - they can be excised from the ad, as if they were never there in the first place. Heartwarming stuff.
Clever, huh? Well, I think not for reasons I detailed here.
But M+S presumably did not see the fact that Cocaine Cocozza - as the tabloids are probably calling him - would get embroiled in a bit of sex-and-drugs rumpus and then get spotted looking totally mashed in the advert's group shots.
M+S has been playing a bit of Youtube hide and seek, hiding and deleting various ads and uploading new ones as contestants have been voted off.
But the most recent development sees Cocozza actually painted out of the group shot, like Trostsky from various Bolshevik photos.
It's a remarkable piece of TV flotsam revisionism and perhaps the perfect example of why I thought these ads were a bad idea.
Unless 'anything your heart desires' included a week of coke-fuelled shagging followed by the swiftest career plunge in history I rather doubt Frankie is digging the M+S advert at present.
That's assuming he hasn't been erased from existence altogether.
The previous version
Cocozza appears, looking mashed, in the top right-hand corner at 47 seconds
The latest version
And now... a blank space!
Oh well, at least Frankie can still be spotted on the M+S Youtube page, just
EDIT: Actually, they've even painted him out of him that Youtube home-page background now.
EDIT 2: And here's the most recent, with Kitty removed from history, replaced by Amelia Lily like it's Invasion of the Bodysnatchers via X Factor.
NB. M+S keep setting their vids to private, lest anyone actually watch the ads they've blown wads of cash on, so the video below may change. Sorry about that.
Dreams don't come true - and this Marks and Spencer's advert featuring the latest round of musical cannon fodder from the X-Factor proves it.
When You Wish Upon A Star kind of tells you everything you need to know about the absurd conceit of X-Factor; the idea that any normal person can become mega-rich, mega-beautiful and simply mega by being good at singing.
That's why the auditions - television's equivalent of frying particularly stupid ants under a microscope - are supposedly the most riveting bits of television, they subject delusional fuckwits to a cleansing (or, more likely, devastating) dose of reality: you can't sing, you are ugly, you are probably unhinged.
But it's not the fault of these auditionees; it's the fault of television and advertising. If people are constantly told at every single stage of the their television viewing that they are beautiful, special, unique and should be celebrated for 'who they are' and be 'true to themselves' it should not come as a surprise when they're revealed to be totally delusional - and if it happens on TV in front of millions of people then all the better.
See also: Frankie Cocozza spannered in M+S advert
See also: Frankie Cocozza painted out of M+S ad
This is surely the reason for the rise of people stabbing other people for not attributing sufficient 'respect'; responding to criticism with the ludicrous and increasingly common riposte of 'what you see is what you get with me and if you don't like you can stick it' - a modern idiot's charter; and the genuine belief held by seemingly everyone under the age of 18 that they're entitled to goods, money, success and the life they choose to lead - irrespective of whether they have any brains, talent or other wherewithal that might allow them to achieve their Cowell-sanctioned dreams.
Some of the people in this advert have exceptional talent - the two scouse lads and Misha B seem particularly good - but they're all part of a process that makes ingenuous young people believe their dreams can come true, then chews them up and spits them out.
A bit like advertising really. So, this X-Factor-sponsored Marks and Spencer's advert - or is it a Marks and Spencer's-sponsored X-Factor advert? - is really about as evil as advertising get (one drop could turn you into Louis Walsh, who for reasons I can't quite fathom, I find to be the most hateful man on television).
In the Xmas 2011 ad a dozen or so X-Factor contestants - Craig Colton, Janet Devlin, Marcus Colins, Franky Cocozza, Little Mix, The Risk, Johnny Robinson, Kitty Brucknell and Misha Bryan - sing When You Wish Upon A Star from Disney's Pinocchio.
Marks and Sparks says that the ad is centred on the theme of "may all your Christmas dreams come true". Well, there are quite a few people in this ad whose dreams are being whipped out of their reach on a weekly basis in public at the moment. How's that for irony?
M+S says "the festive scenes will change during the course of the campaign", which should make for fascinating viewing.
Robinson and The Risk have already left, which will make subsequent versions of the ad fascinating: will M&S edit out the losers as if they're never existed or will they remain, a grisly reminder of the transience of fame; a touchstone for those whose dreams did not come true?
I for one shall watch entranced by this peculiarly post-modern experiment into how to fuck with the minds of the afflicted. Will it break the spell when Cocozza, a man who literally cannot sing, can be glimpsed in this Christmassy orgasm one minute and pictured slobbering over Jodie Marsh's tits - inevitably discarded by Cowell and Co before November's out - the next?
Will viewers become confused when Robinson does his inevitable gin-fugged 'Louis betrayed me' interview in a Red Top on Christmas Eve, while he can be seen twirling away in Marksies' very own vision of a corporate Christmas?
What will the kiddiwinks think when a tabloid sting reveals that [insert X-Factor discardee here] has been [insert sexual or controlled-substances act here] with [insert other faded celeb or Arab businessman here]? (Let's say Misha B, bagpiping and Christopher Biggins respectively for the sake of argument).
Steve Sharp, M&S executive director marketing, has this to say of the advert: "Our TV campaigns have become almost legendary – and for many customers mark the start of Christmas."
The start of Christmas for us - and the end of several Christmas dreams for those X-Factor contestants and their friends and families.
It's an irony almost too delicious to be savourable. In this one advert Marks and Spencer's has revealed everything that's secretly awful about X-Factor, about advertising, about alienation, about consumption and about Christmas.
Happy fucking holidays.
Edited to add: Oh, look. This should be interesting
Edited to add II:
Marks and Spencer will remove Frankie Cocozza from their multi-million pound X Factor Christmas advertising campaign after he was kicked off the show earlier today.
The retailer ‘swiftly moved’ to edit him out following his exit, which came amid allegations that he boasted about taking cocaine in front of production staff.
He will be cut from almost every broadcast of the commercial tonight, and will completely disappear from all versions supplied to broadcasters by tomorrow.
An M&S spokeswoman pointed out that the it was ‘designed’ to be edited as the series progressed so focus would be kept on the remaining acts. As a result The Risk and Johnny Robinson – who were eliminated at the weekend – will also be removed.
So, just to recap, the answer to the poser above - "Will M&S edit out the losers as if they're never existed?" - is yes. Trotsky must be pissing himself.
Bad luck Frankie. Bad luck Johnny. Bad luck The Risk. Your dreams do not come true. And they were only on loan to SYCO anyway.
Edited to add III (25 November):
Misha B has been edited out of the latest ad and replaced with Amelia Lily! What's beyond this, I wonder? Strong backing for the latter at bookies? Persistent reports of bullying from the former? Or Misha B's reported demands for more cash for appearing in the anchor role of the ad? Tune in next week!
Taken on their own, the elements in the promo for Sky's festive offerings wouldn't really irritate me. But the sheer frequency of it across Sky's various channels has made it extremely maddening.
Helena Bonham-Carter's annoying face; George Clooney's American Fantastic Mr Fox; Alec Baldwin's fat, sweaty, naked body; the stupid voiceover guy's ridiculous voice...
But most of all is the horrible soundtrack; a song so monumentally twee that it makes Mariah Carey sound like Burial. It's a vile three minutes by feckless hippified outfit Orba Squara that sounds like it's been put together by a committee of focus group wonks; dredged through Sunny Delight and covered with hundreds and thousands by Justin Bieber.
Sickly, and sickening.
Although this, by any stretch of the imagination, an utterly terrible advert I can't find it in my heart to loathe it in the same way I loathe most adverts for banks, telecommunications, make-up, cleaning products or financial services.
Because there's no malice in it. It's like hating the class dunce: he's probably trying his heart out and he'd never be cruel or unkind to anyone. Simply, it's not his fault he's thick as pigshit.
When you get Coleen Nolan and Jason Donovan - two people who haven't been famous for 50 years between them - representing your brand singing "What a swell party" very badly you can hardly be accused of any side.
Donovan sounds like he's never actually held a note in his life and Nolan has surely only been selected as the jolly, big-bosomed, yo-yoing replacement for the hapless Kerry Katona.
Iceland seems to have made a virtue out of being cheap and cheerful - or cheap and nasty if you take into account their inexpensive frozen fodder - and that's exactly what this advert is: The thick kid in the class.
The Samsung Jet advert would sneer at it; the American Airlines advert would look down its nose at it; and Peter Jones would kick it as he skated past on his stupid shopping trolly.
But it's so hopeless I can't find it in my heart to hate it.
• It's so crap no-one's even uploaded it.