Ah! Xmas! The filthy, numbed, cracked and swollen fingers from harvesting hundreds of thousands of sprouts in the frosty fields before dawn for Lord McKelvey’s table! The dwindling eyesight from sewing tiny, leather boots for Lord McKelvey’s fine, fat geese to wear as they are driven by sullen boys from his vast estates in Upper Beeding and Small Dole to his magnificent Palladian Mansion at Shoreham!
The upper-respiratory tract infections and shakes from lead-polishing the gargantuan silver chalices, cruets and salvers for the feast! The raddled knees and neck from individually nail-scissoring the giant, topiary chickens that line the drive of McKelvey towers in their dozens like a green fever-dream! And above all, the horror of reviewing this year’s crop of Xmas TV commercials for Lord Charlie’s august and flourishing organ ‘Decision Marketing’.
As the candle gutters on the ledge above the discarded, upturned Louis Roederer Premier Cru Champagne Crate that forms my humble desk in the smallest of the lower chicken sheds, I note that this is the thirtieth of my columns for this superb publication.
‘O tempora! O mores!’ this year’s ads are worse than ever.
So bad, in fact, that Lord McKelvey has ordered me to restrict myself to the five least appalling executions.
You can find them all here* >
*Along with some too appalling to even make the cut. I’m hoping that Lord McKelvey’s sub-editors will have apportioned the blame for each ad to its relevant, monstrously-over-charging agency by the time this column goes to press.
So here they are then:
Spooner’s 2018 Klorinated Kristmas Krackers:
Number 5: Boots, “Get them something that says… you get them” by Ogilvy UK
‘Rum-tumty-tum, she’s me mum’ trills the ‘lovely Northern lass’ as her manifestly deranged mother ‘reins her in’, joins a choir and is ‘bouleversée’ by her off-the-rails offspring’s frankly pitiful gift of a No 7 lipstick. Naturally the production values are of the highest quality, the performances limpid and glowing, the product placement tastefully accomplished and the whole combines to create the following effect in my lovely daughter Tabitha, 14, presumably a key target demographic: “Turn it off! Turn it off Daddy before I vomit!”.
Klorinated Kristmas Kracker Rating: 1 out of a possible 10
Number 4: Argos “Christmas fool” by The & Partnership London
This seems to be called ‘The Christmas Fool’ which raises my taxonomical hackles at once since its wicked protagonist is manifestly no Christmas Fool with cap and bells a-jingle but the weird, bastard progeny of one of those gremlins from the eponymous 1980s movie and that Jar-Jar-Binks that everyone loves, possible possessed by the malign spirit of the Chucky Doll. Oh the things this supernatural abomination will do to ruin Xmas! Oh how little we care! The animation and CGI (as so often) are of the highest quality and I particularly commend the digital team for the ‘squelchiness’ of the final shots. Extra points are given for the expression on the face of the heroic Argos delivery driver in the final frame.
Klorinated Kristmas Kracker Rating: 2.5 out of a possible 10
Number 3: Aldi “Kevin the Carrot and the Wicked Parsnip” by McCann UK
Setting aside its obvious debt to those titans of Toontown; Tom & (of course) Jerry, this ad earns high marks for technical achievement, vertiginous perspectives, animation quality and storyboarding in a touching tale of Kevin the Carrot and his battle against a malevolent parsnip. That’s it really. Frankly its salience is hard to fathom and I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when the CD presented the initial concept (or perhaps Koncept) to the assembled client team. Oh how they must have lapped it up! Oh how little we care!
Klorinated Kristmas Kracker Rating: 3 out of a possible 10
Number 2: Asda “Bring Christmas home” by AMV BBDO
An immensely privileged child in an upper-middle class home is awaiting Xmas with nervous excitement. She will not be disappointed. Hurtling towards her down the perfect, snowy piste, which sweeps surprisingly up to her front door, are hundreds of colourful and imaginative manifestations of everything Xmassy: Snowboarders! Motocross! Tree! Impossibly golden turkeys in sleighs! Inflatable snowman! Unidentifiable canapés under silver salvers served by fruity, uniformed lovelies! Yeti-Wookies! Pyjama-clad pals! Puddings! Some kind of polar-bear carnival-float on skis! The works! And all calculated, through a judicious sprinkling of ‘super-cool’ skiing goggles and other black-run accessories to assuage the guilt at parking up outside Asda felt by the Courcheval Crowd of middle-class families that Asda seeks so urgently to attract. Shameless and sort of ‘Mad Maxy’.
Klorinated Kristmas Kracker Rating: 4 out of a possible 10
Number 1: Very.co.uk “Elsie’s gift” by St Luke’s
“Find the gift that helps them find their gift at very.co.uk” Which parent would not admire this commercial? Competent, amusing, easter-egg (seasonal huh?) packed, inclusive, positive, uplifting, this commercial could have been focus-grouped to within an inch of its life BUT a deft directorial touch and charming (where have I seen it before?) animation makes for a Kristmas Komercial that, try as I might, I cannot hate. Encouraging children to study science? Check. Saying to young girls that they can (literally) reach for the stars? Check. Almost bringing a tear to my sensitive yet manly eye? Check. Not actually irritating the bejesus out of me? Check. Could it be that Very have actually produced an ad that I cannot complain about? Double check! Shame that it is for a site (have just visited) packed with egregious, mass-produced tat of the worst kind but HECK! THAT IS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT!!!
Klorinated Kristmas Kracker Rating: 8 out of a possible 10!!!
So there they are then, Spooner’s top 5 Klorinated Kristmas Krackers. I wish you joy of them. Oh and while we are about it if Satan, sorry, Santa could bring me peace on earth and goodwill to all, that would be super too.
Yours, wearing a towering tinsel turban, Old Uncle Spoon.
Jonathan Spooner is consulting creative director at Spoon Creative