‘Tis the season to be honest

By Chrissy Styles

Unlike the rest of the population, who seem to look forward to it with feverish excitement bordering on hysteria, I come to December’s Big Event dragging my feet. It’s the same every year. The cloying sentimentality of it all. Those awful songs that make their home in my brain for an entire month. The guilty panic that I’m not experiencing the same warm feelings and unbridled joy as everyone else and certainly not sharing it with the world over Twitter. So does this mean I’m actually a psychopath and please will everyone just stop treating me like I’ve kicked a kitten?! It’s only a CGI penguin advertising a department store. While everyone else is wiping their eyes, I’m rolling mine.

My main issue with John Lewis’s brand of festive ad offering isn’t just that they, and companies like Sainsbury's (who this year managed to turn a world-changing, devastating historical event into a beautiful way of selling chocolates), continue to manipulate people’s real emotions into a means of getting them to buy turkeys and food processors. It’s that the predictable only-child/anthropomorphic-animal/unnecessary-cover-version-of-a-perfectly-fine song/snow combination that gets wheeled out to great fanfare every year is a big lie

No-one’s Christmas looks like that. We know what they’re up to: we know that they don't really believe we buy things at Christmas for the fuzzy feeling. We do it because everyone likes getting stuff, and getting a great present for someone is an easy way of getting into their good books for the next year. If we all know this, then why aren't advertisers focusing on the truth?

Unexpectedly, enter Mulberry – the traditional, luxury British handbag brand – who this year in a bid to target a more youthful audience have turned the tired Christmas advert formula on its head and created something that actually stands out with their #WinChristmas campaign.

The spot, showing a family trying to outdo each other with increasingly ridiculous presents (a painted portrait, a waving puppy, a unicorn and finally...a Mulberry bag), genuinely made me laugh, as it is refreshingly honest. Most people’s Christmases aren’t just filled with warm glows and penguin friends for lonely kids. There’s also a healthy helping of family rivalry and bitter disappointment.

It may be the cynic in me, but Mulberry have hit the nail on the head and I appreciate their honesty. “Buy our bags and you'll blow everyone else’s gifts out of the water”. Because people don’t want warm and fuzzy this Christmas, they want leather goods with a cold, hard price tag.