I don’t really remember Christmas adverts being as big a business as they currently are when I was a kid. I do remember the Coca-Cola advert being that hallowed signal, that tipping point of “NOW it feels like Christmas.” I also, must have done some singing along to the Toys R Us jingle every year. Perhaps I just never really paid attention to the “boring” adverts that weren’t for toys until I was that little bit more grown up.
For me 2008 sticks in my head. I was 18, Waitrose had a Christmas advert out that year that struck a chord in me- somewhere inexplicably deep inside me. “How?” I thought to myself, “How can you watch this and not connect to the true meaning of Christmas? The greatest story ever told?!”
And then it just kept happening. Every year. John Lewis, Waitrose, Sainsburys, McDonalds, even Amazon all connecting with profound truths and deep theology at the same time as simply trying to make as much money as possible. Sure sometimes the links were tenuous, and not all of these corporations have the shiniest business ethics, but these adverts snuck in to Christmas assemblies and talks I gave. Indeed, there was one year where I managed to write six years’ worth of John Lewis ads into one assembly- the year of the now legendary penguin costume.
This year, as the festive adverts roll on to our screens once again, connecting with the story which beats within all of us, I thought I’d put 13 years of ideas in one place.
So come with me, if you will, this Blogmas (every day of December) and think of me as the ghost of adverts past, as we consider the theology of Christmas adverts- the greatest story ever sold…