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AUTHOR: The Guardian's resident ranter Charlie Booker, fresh from the drama of the home appliance wars

LENGTH: 972 words


EFFECT: Breathlessness

THESIS: Christmas advertisements are tirelessly tiresome

PROBLEMS: Ads come too early, they're kitschy, they're tacky

EGREGIOUS EXAMPLE: "The sexy girl from the Marks and Sparks ads running around in her knickers"
WORRISOME THOUGHT: Is this scantily-clad maid now "as iconic a Christmas image as Rudolph's nose or the little baby Jesus"?

WHAT BOOKER WOULD RATHER SEE: "a shot of a deranged crystal meth user ... screaming about serpents while feverishly sawing their own hand off at the wrist"

ANOTHER PROBLEM: Annual commercials are getting stranger and more self-referential

EXAMPLE: "What started out a few years ago as a mildly amusing commercial in which an army of women prepared in unison for an office party has devolved into a nightmare vision of the future in which large groups of female office workers spontaneously organise themselves into a cackling mobile hen night at the first whiff of Christmas. This year they're causing mayhem in a restaurant. They're mad, they are!!!! One even tries to get off with the waiter!!!!"

CONLUSION: "Next year they'll probably be armed. Fear this."

AND ANOTHER PROBLEM: Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef who wanders around "handing out free vol-au-vents to greedy members of the public, like a zookeeper throwing sprats to a load of barking seals"


Yep, it's that time of year again--and the Christmas adverts are already on the telly," remarks a man at the start of this year's B&Q Christmas advert, proving that the grand tradition of moaning about premature Yuletide ads has itself been absorbed by the Matrix and turned into a stick to beat us with. Let's hope this kind of jokey fourth-wall-breaking doesn't become a trend, or before long we'll all be moaning about the number of early Christmas ads that moan about the number of early Christmas ads, and then our moans about their moans will in turn form the basis of the next wave of ads, and so on and so on ad nauseam, until they're producing intricately constructed navel-gazing meta-commercials that are actually more self-aware than we are: fully sentient beings with thoughts and feelings of their own. And they'll rise up and strangle us in our beds. While humming Stop the Cavalry by Jona Lewie ...

But the winner of the worst Christmas advert trophy for the second year running is Morrisons. They've got several short offerings, including one where Nick Hancock appears to be preparing Christmas dinner in the afterlife--but the prize goes to their centrepiece ad: a bafflingly pedestrian 60-second fantasy in which straggle-haired midget Richard Hammond wheels an empty trolley through an over-dressed, snowblown Tunbridge Wells, yelping about food and steadily gathering a pied-piper-style following of locals (and Denise Van Outen) as he heads for an illuminated branch of Morrisons in the distance, like a wise man following a star --or, more accurately, like a slightly unkempt mouse following a shop. I keep hoping it'll suddenly pull out to reveal this is all just a slightly underwhelming dream he's experiencing, and that he's actually still in a coma following his 2006 rocket car mishap. And judging by the look in his eyes, so is he.

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