Marks and Spencer’s post-modern Christmas X-Factor advert

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!