LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
20 December 2013
Do They Know It's Christmas

34% increase in the UK, 64% increase of the homeless in London....500,000 to
increase to 1million in 2014 using food banks – those who qualify if they are in
dire need of the limit of 3 days worth of provisions. Do they know it’s
Christmas...a John Lewis Christmas?

After going viral, the £7 million, 2 minute The Bear and the Hare John Lewis
Christmas advert launched in mid-November, takings were £101.45 million, a
10% increase on last year after only one week. Breaking records. Mon dieu.

An homage to Disney. Cartoon cuteness. Syrupy enough to bring on
instantaneous diabetes. For an inexplicable reason, it causes people to hand
over wads of cash as if in a mind-control experiment. Even the most irritating
song of the season doesn’t deter. Not a good indication of collective intelligence.

Their marketing director said: “It’s not about glitz and glamour.” No, it’s clearly
about making money via nostalgia and nausea.

John Lewis Partnership revenue is £9.5 billion a year with at least £600 million
at Christmas. Little ones can have their photos taken in a Bear and Hare
backdrop in the Oxford Street store. When a commercial goes commercial.
Shop on.

Harvey Nichols offers up a “Sorry, I spent it on myself” ad that suggests you
give ‘simple’ presents like baked beans, toothpicks, elastic bands, gravel – or
possibly empty boxes to friends and family on Christmas day and treat yourself
instead.  But most loyal patrons of Harvey Nicks already do, don’t they?

Harvey Nichols wants customers to film the responses. The marketing director,
Julia Bowe, said it’s the store offering a humorous response to Christmas. I
can't quite imagine someone’s gran falling off the sofa gripped with
uncontrollable laughter.” A sink plug! Haaaaaaaaa. You haaaaa gave me a
haaaaa sink plug! So haaaaaa kind and unselfish.” So post-modern.

Marks and Spencer has not been successful in their ‘give me your money’
advert this year. It should have been.

A fun, creative, clever, innovative, original ad featuring Rosie Huntington-
Whiteley (unfortunately wearing her new underwear line, twice), the scarily
good-looking David Gandy, Helena Bonham-Carter and a cute West Highland
Terrier pup.

One critic thought it has non-linear referencing, dark...a gothic horror...
nightmare conducing. No. It’s cinematic magic. It’s fairy tales. It’s enchanting.
It’s M and S creating ‘believe in Magic and Sparkle’.

So there. So Merry Christmas.
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