The Season of Sappiness is Upon Us

Or, ‘Why are Christmas Adverts so Shit?’

Over the years there have been many memorable adverts on TV. Some of them have appealed to our collective love of the bizarre, our loneliness, our idiosyncrasies. Others simply target our adoration of funny animals (see: this gorilla, this kitten, or that meerkat voiced by Michael from Alan Partridge).

Adverts can delight us and entrance us with their strange imagery and brief glimpses into new worlds.

When I was a child I had an old VHS copy of Hook I’d taped from terrestrial TV (I was a vicious pirate). There was an advert for Stella Artois at the beginning of the tape, which – for some bizarre reason – has stuck with me this whole time. I still remember each exact beat of the advert, it’s a permanent resident in my brain.

Advertising holds a strange power over us.

At the beginning of every November, however, something wicked is delivered directly into our living rooms. Something any sane person would recognise as devilishly evil and corrupt. Something so vile and reprehensible that it’s hard to believe they’re allowed to be shown on daytime TV.

Turn back now if you’re a fan of shitty Xmas ads.

You’ve been warned…

Are you really going to moan about Christmas adverts?

Yes. Yes, I am.

Much like those horrible vibrating cock-rings from the condom machine in a pub bathroom, opinions are cheap, dirty, and everyone has one.

I don’t consider my opinion on Christmas ads to be any more valid than anyone else’s. I do think I’m right about them, though. They are a scourge which should be eliminated.

Why are they so awful?

Really? Every year we’re treated to these new and innovative adverts that are presented as being tiny Oscar-winning short films. They’re fawned over by news outlets and heralded as the pinnacle of fun. They’re still advertisements.

“bUT JaKe, AlL aDvErTiSiNg Is MeAnT tO aTtRaCt NeW cUsToMeRs. AdVeRtIsErS HaVe To TrY nEw ThInGs!!”

Yeah, no shit. This is how advertising works. Show me something cool, hope it sticks. But surely I can’t be the only one who is sick of how obviously we’re being led on every year by the endless flood of sappy Christmas ads?

I don’t necessarily blame the writers for the awful ideas. No, not at all. It’s the dull, pandering brainwaves that come about through cocaine-fuelled freeform-pow-wows between higher-ups that I hate.

(Not that I have anything inherently against cocaine, of course. Many of my favourite 80s movies wouldn’t exist without the Colombian glitter.)

So, what is it about these sweet and sickly short-form Hallmark movies which so vehemently pisses me off?

All (or at least most) forms of entertainment – be it literature, film, or video games – are designed to emotionally affect their consumer in some way or another. Christmas adverts, however, hold the title prize for artificially engineering emotion in a sinister and (dare I say) macabre way.

“Here’s a… cat. Oh, look, it’s got a little… I dunno… a little car? And the car has broken down? And play some electro-swing in the background. No, wait, have some kids singing something, any old wank. Throw in a joke at the end. Job done.”

Engineered emotion seems to be all-to-easy nowadays. Any old wanker will laugh at an animated carrot in peril. But the way these ad folk so effortlessly brainwash consumers into believing the adverts are just for fun is so brazenly mischievous. That’s what really gets to me.

It’s still an advert.

They’re still selling you something. It’s not a free form of entertainment they’re just handing to you on a plate. All they want is for you to talk about it with your friends and write awful articles about it (shit).

They might as well show a whole minute of a white wall with ‘HASHTAG THIS’ smeared across it in dog shit. As long as you’re talking about it in the pub, who cares?

What’s the answer?

Like most ridiculously shitty situations, the answer lies in total annihilation of the problem.

Ban these bothersome advertisements, force them to seek out a more non-linear and less hypnotic way to attract customers.

No CGI characters or daft narrative. Peddle your product like a good boy and then get off the screen. Don’t try to permeate the minds of the weak like we’re living in a dazzlingly-bad YA novel.

Failing that, try and realise that this article is just a bit of fun and you’re getting worked up over nothing. I bet you’re already planning out your witty retort, aren’t you? Put down the pen.

Rejected ideas

I try not to make a habit of rifling through bins that don’t belong to me. I’ll only do so in the pursuit of higher knowledge and a better understanding of the evil of Christmas adverts.

With that being said, here’s some of the rejected ideas I found scribbled on hummus-stained notes while sifting through the detritus and decay of several BIG BAD AD skips.

  • Stephen Fry narrating an advert about a penguin with anxiety.
  • A CGI avocado (named Alistair) dabbing.
  • One of them working-class poets. People confuse having a broad regional accent with being a good actor. Have them say any old bollocks.
“This is for Mum’s Sunday roast – another round of toasts. Dad asleep in the chair – pulling out your sister’s hair. This is for gravy, mash, and socks – this is for big, purple cocks. For all of our family and the Elf on a shelf – Merry Christmas, go fuck yourself.”
  • A group of schoolchildren acting out the plot to Die Hard 3. Those arseholes will love this shite
  • Something with that really naff Z-list comedian. You know who – that tosser who was in an advert for The Sun newspaper.
  • An unexpectedly political ad that we’ll push as representing a brave ideology (despite the message behind it being the general consensus amongst the entirety of the population not currently on life-support).
  • Something about war and football. Any old fuckery. They love it. Eat it up, they will.


As you can see, these bastards will stop at nothing to infect the minds, hearts, and souls of our great nation with their abhorrent marketing tactics. This year they’ll shove so much bullshit down your throat you’ll choke to death before we even reach December.

Please, whatever you do this year, don’t fall for their hideous and heinous plans. Don’t let yourself be brainwashed by a slowed down cover version of a pop song and an anthropomorphised vegetable.

Fight the power.

Anyway, I’m off to buy that new baby doll that can realistically eat, shit, piss, and succumb to SIDS.

Also: watch this.

My new collection of short stories is available here.

I can be followed on Twitter here. Or not. Either way.