It happens less and less often – on the basis that I immediately mute or skip the adverts or simply watch the BBC – but every now and then I see an advert so awful I sit up, sharpen an imaginary pencil and say to myself: “Right.” That’s what happened when I watched this “She’s Me Mum” Boots Advert. Well, after a few minutes of dry-heaving, anyway.
This Boots advert features something more and more prevalent in Christmas adverts: a relatable Christmas message (you hate your own Mother) and relatable (ie. terrible) singing. With lyrics that would unite the DUP and Sinn Fein in mutual hatred (“It was her; did you see? Standing there; by the tree”) and with a voice scarcely less awful than Boris Johnson grunting his way to verbose orgasm, it’s a truly grisly prospect.
And that affected ‘me’ instead of ‘my’ – because market research shows that Northern accents are more trustworthy? Just ugh.
That’s before we get to the backing track, Robbie Williams’ love song for people who don’t like music, which we have to hear sung by some godawful community choir. It’s only at this point, of course, that an entitled teenager understands that the woman who birthed her is a fully-functional, independent human being – it’s OK for her to have emotions and she deserves some make-up after all. Merry Fucking Christmas.
This might be a message that resonates with you, but that’s how advertising works, after all. It’s a flat-out con trick, playing on your emotions to guilt you into buying some unwanted shit for someone in your family.
Whenever I point this out, people to whom this has obviously never occurred get very defensive and start telling me to ‘lighten up’ and it’s ‘only a bit of fun’. And I get why – if someone had just pointed out to me that I’d be had by some very obvious scam, I’d probably get defensive too.
Here’s what Boots have to say about it: “We wanted to really celebrate this special connection by focusing in on the spirit of beauty gifts showing you really understand your loved ones.
The spirit of beauty gifts.
Let that sink in for a second. We all know about the spirit of Christmas. Love, forgiveness, selflessness. Peace on Earth. And buying a No7 lipstick for your Mum, who you normally despise. It’s not exactly A Christmas Carol, eh?
No, instead we have “She’s me Mum,” and instead of Scrooge we have a brat who remembers not to hate her mother once a year thanks to Boots.
Thank God we have private-equity owned multinationals to tell us what, how and when to feel. That’s the true meaning of Christmas – and the real spirit of beauty gifts.