Thursday 13 November 2014

Rampant commercialism or a great reminder of past times? #ChristmasIsForSharing

I watched the Sainsbury's Christmas advert for the first time today and I balled my eyes out. For me it is the best advert I have seen in a very long time, in fact it is one of the only Christmas adverts that I do not mind seeing this early into the festive season. Actually scrap that, the festive season hasn't even started yet, has it?

Over the last couple of weeks talk on Twitter, Facebook and blogs has all been 'ahh isn't Monty the Penguin cute? Haven't John Lewis done a great job again with their Christmas advert?' and yes it is nice, it's sweet, it's endearing and as a mother it makes you think about your own child and their relationship to their special toy and if you are a romantic sort like me it makes you smile seeing all those couples in love but it is just to sell products from John Lewis. And I like John Lewis, I really do, I'm a happy customer of theirs and I'll keep buying from them but my eyes are fully open, they just want to sell to me and to make maximum profit, OK they provide great service, I'll acknowledge that but still it is Christmas commercialism gone mad.

So where is the difference I hear you scream? Sainsburys are all about the profit too, maybe even more so, they do not have partners (staff) that they are providing pay-outs to, just extremely well paid executives and public shareholders. But for me the difference is all about the message, yes Sainsburys are clever and realise this will provide foot fall to their store but the chocolate bar that the advert is selling (and let's not kid ourselves, it is selling) will be £1 and ALL the profits will go to the Royal British Legion. That is the difference, with this advert Sainsburys have not only shown a whole new generation something they maybe did not know about, or have forgotten about, they have also honoured the 8.5 million people said to have lost their lives as a result of WW1, while providing valuable funds for the great work that the Royal British Legion do.

So I applaud Sainsbury's, I think this advert is inspired and obvioulsy timely and I was quite happy there is my bubble knowing Sainsburys had done a good thing and I even tweeted -

Then I saw a tweet from a fellow Christian that I follow and I just had to follow the link -

I found myself on a page for the Ethical Consumer, an organisation that has been researching and recording the social and environmental records of companies since 1989. I was astounded to see how poorly Sainsbury's were scoring in the line up of product sustainability, people, environment, animals and politics.  So now I need to go and do some research as Sainsbury's is my regular go-to supermarket. Of course the other supermarkets were doing pretty poorly too and it was no surprise to see that those that cost more (M&S, Waitrose & Co-op) were scoring more highly but just because the competition is rubbish as well does not mean I have to accept and endorse it.

So now I'm here pondering the Sainsbury's advert, I still love it and I'll show it to my kids when they get home from school because they are all working on WW1 learning journeys at the moment and that kind of visual scene helps them to understand the complexities of war and how both sides in the trenches were just kids following orders and not well-oiled killing machines.

All this pondering has all also got me wondering what other people think on the Sainsburys Christmas advert.  Good thing, bad thing or you really don't care at all?

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