Best And Worst Xmas 2013 Adverts

ant and dec

It’s hardly a novel observation to suggest that we take leave of our senses a little at Christmas. Certainly we do, but this is just the icing on the cake. We live in a system that is totally, undeniably insane. Christmas is just the slicing-off-an-ear height of the insanity, but in years gone by – and in years to come – people would and will look on in disgust at the orgy of consumption that Christmas means for us this year.

Advertising is merely the most obvious expression of this particular mania. Advertising is designed to make us consume more, in a system whose very model is ever-increasing consumption. It hardly takes a Marxist to point out that, at some point in the future, we’ll run out of stuff to consume. Possibly in the next 50 years when it comes to the fossil fuels we’re utterly dependent on.

Probably in terms of virtually every other natural resource – minerals, food, water and other similarly boring stuff – in a century or two, assuming that rising tide levels and natural disasters wrought by climate change, caused largely by our rapacious consumption of said fossil fuels, don’t finish us off in the meantime. In the run-up to that sort of societal apocalypse we can expect to see increased, desperate competition for those resources. War, famine – fun stuff like that.

table of food

Our response to this pant-fillingly frightening realisation seems to be confined to shrugging and having a Big Mac Meal. Yawning and opening another 2-litre bottle of Coke. Scratching ourselves and ordering another DVD box-set off the internet (an act that seems increasingly close to a voluntary version of the Matrix-style cosy stupefaction of the masses in tanks filled with spermy gloop).

Consuming more stuff.

By any measure this amounts to either a gigantic shared delusion that Everything Will Be Alright or a bored acceptance that we’re fucked either way and might as well go down with smiles on our fat, vacant, chocolate-smeared faces.

And the harbingers of this are Christmas adverts, ensuring that we continue accelerating towards our own doom and shovelling food and booze down our gullets all the while. I find the spectacle of what Christmas seems to have become increasingly grotesque to the point where I ask people not to buy me presents. I’ve been buying up stuff over the year for the few people I intend to give a gift to: art, crafts, old books I think they might enjoy. I’ll make the rest – jars of jam or chutney.

debenhams

I don’t judge people going a bit mad at Christmas, particularly those with kids. I just wish it wasn’t all so horribly, nakedly, graspingly commercial – and connected with consumption. There’s a Hogarthian excess implicit in many Christmas adverts – so much so that I’m surprised the supermarkets haven’t started selling emetics.

This is another factor of our mindless retail splurging. Alienation. Owning stuff doesn’t make us any happier. Oh, it perhaps offers us some relief from our shit lives – like a palliative offers us brief respite from chronic pain – but it doesn’t change anything. Realisation of this is the first step to making your life slightly less shit. Advertising doesn’t want you thinking about that too much, because you might stop spending hundreds of pounds on stuff you don’t care about for people who don’t want it every single year.

archetypal xmas image

I’d gladly swap every present I might receive this year for a short Winter break with a few loved ones, a low-key party with group of friends, a phonecall from some people I love and haven’t seen for a while, Christmas Eve in a pub with my old muckers in the North East. Oh, sure, I’ll buy the missus something nice and spend Christmas Day stuffing my face, drinking some port, watching Doctor Who and dozing off on the sofa. I might even give the cat some bacon fat. But the receiving and sending of stuff won’t make me – or anyone I know – happier.

Sorry if this all comes over a bit Good Life, but I find it genuinely depressing that we’ve commodified everything that’s precious in our lives, wrapped it up in a multi-million-quid campaign and sold it back to ourselves. We’ve prostituted something that’s synonymous with charity, good will and togetherness. I saw a newspaper refer to this year’s John Lewis advert as a festive comfort blanket. It’s not, it’s a sugar pill at best – and a dangerously addictive one at that.

vorderman isme

There’s nothing wrong with an X-Box, or a crate of beer or a nice DVD. But you know what’s better? Friends, family, your Significant Other. Company, conversation, laughter, love. Spending time with them, breaking bread with them and huddling together around the fire to hide from the season’s icy grasp.

Adverts aren’t the first exciting sign that Christmas is coming; they’re just the first – and best – reminder that we’ve fucked up everything that’s good about it.

• Read the 2011 Xmas ads and 2012 Xmas ads lists – vote and read on for this year’s.

Vote for your favourite

Marks and Spencer

A couple of models, everyone’s favourite batshit kooky actress, an Alice In Wonderland theme. And, quite possibly, the latest M&S messiah’s last chance to save his job.

There’s a point in the film Big, a film of which I’m very fond, where the juvenile-on-the-inside Tom Hanks watches a product pitch, at the toy-makers where he works, with puzzlement.

“I don’t get it,” he says in a way that’s taken as needless, needly snark. But it’s not – he genuinely doesn’t understand what the toy is supposed to do.

Well, I don’t get it.

Very

I don’t really know what Very.co.uk is, apart from the fact that it seems to be aimed at aspiring chavettes, given that Fearne Cotton is its representative. It’s worth pointing out that Cotton, someone with no discerning talent to speak of, has nearly five million followers on Twitter. Five Million. if that’s not enough to give you nightmares I don’t know what will.

Anyway, this advert is kinda interesting; the music and the offbeat visuals are refreshingly different from the rest of the Christmas fare. I guess it’s aimed at young women, but there’s something a tad unfortunate here. It feels cold, stilted and the women in it look like they’ve been freeze-dried; Stepford Wifettes represented only by their domestic duties.

I think that’s rather problematic. It’s a chilly vision of Christmas: Jerry Hall’s quote about women as “cook in the kitchen, lady in the parlor, whore in the bedroom” made real.

Waitrose

In last year’s AdTurds run down of best and worst Xmas adverts I suggested that if they wanted my Christmas pound, UK retailers should spend their ad cash on taking a load of old folks and homeless people for a slap-up Christmas party with loads of top nosh.

Imagine my surprise when, this year, Waitrose unveiled an advert featuring an advert where they spend their Xmas ad cash on taking a load of old folks and homeless people for a slap-up Christmas party with loads of top nosh.

My invoice is in the post.

Isme

Nice to see Carol Vorderman playing up to her popular image as a filthy MILF. Still, I prefer to remember her as a shrill, foaming, utterly inept right-wing whackjob informed only by Daily Mail editorials and Tory party briefing notes who made a total arse of herself on Question Time a couple of years ago, fulminating about the kind of things that people who join UKIP are annoyed by and proving to be largely misinformed, hysterical and thick as pigshit.

I’m looking forward to the second part of this ad campaign, in which the celebrity adder-upper – and erstwhile peddler of debt consolidation companies – gets sloshed on cheap white wine and starts bawling at an East European, makes a pass at someone 30 years her junior and bursts into tears before being put to bed.

Debenhams

A beautiful young woman stalking through the moneyed boroughs of central London, eh? There’s a novelty. Debenhams is increasingly the person at university who you befriend on your first day only for them to start dressing like you and buying CDs by your favourite band.

As a rough approximation of what the client wanted it’s probably ticking all the boxes but really this is as memorable as the November 14th episode of Neighbours in 1994.

John Lewis

Keane made a good song once, believe it or not – it’s this one sung here by Lily Allen and is called Somewhere Only We Know. A bear and a hare are having a romance, by the look of it. Wonder how that works.

This is getting ridiculous now. Forget reality shows, this is the most absurdly exploitative television gets in the 21st century. Where do we go from here?

The last time I wept at anything I saw on television was about ten years ago, watching a Simon King documentary about two orphaned cheetah cubs that he’d rescued. After two years of raising them by hand King decides that they should have the chance of the life they were born for, and releases them into the wild. Shortly afterwards one of them is killed and King is distraught when he finds the body, the twin cheetah mewling in confusion. It came at a time in my life when I’d recently lost someone and I cried my eyes out for about half an hour.

Next year John Lewis will just be showing that clip, accompanied by Leonard Cohen singing I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry – with a picture of a cashmere scarf at the end of it.

I wonder if the people who do John Lewis ads are starting to believe their own press. The media starts frotting itself every November when the very notion of advertising, television – Hell, art itself – is shaken to its core by another 60 seconds designed to make us sad and then spend £250 on stuff we don’t need in John Lewis.

But really I don’t they’re that good. I could come up with something like that in 30 minutes if I had a strong cup of tea and pack of Jaffa Cakes. Animals, sadness, snow, anthropomorphism, love. Shake them up with some nice visuals and a cover of a sad song and you’ve got something that’s as easy to put together as pound cake. And a good deal more bittersweetly nauseating.

Tesco

Oh dear. What is this? An attempt to go upmarket? A response to last year’s lukewarm response the festive efforts? A rebrand? Whatever it is, it’s not very good.

A dreadful soundtrack, courtesy of everyone’s second-favourite geriatric shagger that instantly prevents this really connecting with anyone under 40 years of age. A advert that tries to convince you that it’s possible to age someone 50 years by putting a white streak in their hair. And, more fundamentally, an advert that just doesn’t really mean anything.

Why 50 years? Why literally no mention of any product or brand, bar a Tesco logo at the end? I sincerely doubt anyone has an answer to these questions. Does this really align in any way with the brand, the product? I don’t see how it does.

This might seem to run contrary to my opening gambit here, but really this is so naff, so unbelievable and so empty that it’s just 90 seconds of nothingness.

Boots

Boots had a pretty decent ad last year, which I enjoyed because it featured real people. This year that’s not the case but I do like this one. Similar to the John Lewis ad from a couple of years that baited-and-switched – leading us to believe that a young lad was waiting to open his presents on Christmas Day, only to surprise us by enthusiastically delivering a gift to his Mam and Dad – this one subverts our initial expectations rather nicely.

He’s wearing a hoody! He’s moody! He slammed the door! He’s running away and banging on shutters! Oh, look, he’s giving them a pack of smellies. He must be a good lad after all.

Still, I’d find it harm to warm to a gift of toiletries and the choice of soundtrack – Smalltown Boy, about a young man coming to terms with his sexuality in the provinces – is a bit of a puzzler. It instantly made me think of an episode of Brass Eye where a gay sailor is pictured walking down a street in grainy monochrome, with his shoes highlighted in pink.

Overall, though, I think this one might be my favourite.

Asda

Asda has never seemed to quite understand the difference between inexpensive and cheap. It’s always seemed a little more downmarket, low-rent when compared to the other main supermarkets and that’s something that Asda has courted a little.

Brave move this year, anyway, tackling the other supermarkets head on and referencing them fairly openly with a price promise effort. Not very seasonal, charitable and not especially pleasing to be honest. A bit cheap, if anything.

As someone on Twitter put it: Why don’t the asda av a fuckin scruff ma screamin the gaff down with her 5 snotty nosed kids in the Xmas tv advert be more realistic la.

Indeed.

Asda Christmas advert, 2013

Asda hasn’t uploaded this one yet

Morrisons

Everyone’s favourite cheeky chappies Ant And Dec sit down for a repaste that could feed half of Nyercastle pet. I quite like this though, and the suggestion that And Or Dec might be about to eat the singing gingerbreadman is rather droll – positioning Morrisons quite differently to the other, rather earnest, offerings.

“Go on, it’s Christmas,” says Ant Or Dec to Ant Or Dec, justifying this Yuletide slaughter. I’d like to see this used as an excuse in broader terms. Fraudulently embezzling the Christmas Club cash, having an extra-marital affair or developing a crack habit, for example.

Go on, it’s Christmas.

NB. Incidentally, it’s always possibly to tell And And Dec apart because they always sit in visual order of their names – Ant And Dec; left and right. Vaguely depressing, but true nonetheless.

Argos

Argos is still sticking with its alien sperm family thing, it would seem. This is a series that I find wholly unlovely, fairly irritating and simply rather baffling. Initially I thought it would make sense to have the family bemused by Earth traditions but accepting of the Argos back-to-front shopping experience, but this has never happened.

So, it just sort of exists. There are a few things of note here, I think. Firslty, how horrific does Santa look without a beard? Score one for sending the kids screaming from the room. Second, a joke about little people? Hmm. Lastly, a gift of a satnav. Merry Fucking Geolocationary Accurate Christmas.

Time to retire this campaign I think. If I want sperm all over my screen then I’ll <edited by the Advertising Standards Authority>.

Iceland

There’s always a macabre fascination to see what grisly ‘party food’ treats Iceland comes up with next – this being the outlet that gave us King Prawn Spoons, a Baileys Dome Gateau and mini Yorkshire-pudding-with-roast-beef efforts that looked quite a lot like vaginas (see right).

Xmas10_Partypage_BeefFilledYorkshire

I’ve not really caught this year’s advert, but since Iceland is clearly making some sort of attempt to dodge the sort of horrors of 2010 with a Michael Buble song (albeit terrible) and a focus on one of its delivery drivers romancing a lady with ready meals, I expect it’s not as ghastly as Icelands of Christmas Past.

Still, since we’re here let’s dream up a few. Mini Chicken Rifles? Bacardi Breezer Dipping Sauce? Langoustine Roundabouts? Pontefract Pizzas? Boummus? The possibilities are – I feel – endless.

Iceland has yet to upload this one

Bubbling under

So, that’s it for the big hitters. Make sure you vote for your favourite at the bottom of the page.

Lidl, Aldi, Matalan, Sainsbury’s, TK Maxx and a couple of others have yet to release their own versions or aren’t especially interesting – so I’m not including them here. The TK Maxx and Aldi ones are quite nice.

Lidl

Littlewoods

TK Maxx

Aldi

Sainsbury’s

Not currently publicly available

Best And Worst Xmas Ads 2012

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.

Myleene – one of only three celebs in evidence this year

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…

Argos

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

Tesco

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

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

Debenhams

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

Waitrose

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

Very

Cheap. Shit.

Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: ∞

Asda

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

John Lewis

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

Boots

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

Matalan

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

Littlewoods

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

Morrisons

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