Once upon a time Christmas in the UK would be ushered in by the Coca-Cola truck commercial, joyfully steamrolling its way into our lives leaving a plentiful supply of tooth decay in its wake. Now, though, we have the John Lewis Christmas advert, which is kinda like the Coca-Cola ad only for adults, because children aren’t particularly interested in overpriced glassware.
The general formula for a John Lewis Christmas ad is as follows – you take one child, preferably one who looks a little disillusioned with life at the start of the commercial (because children have so much to worry about, the fucking ingrates), introduce some supernatural element such as a plush penguin coming to life, or living snowmen, or in this case a man on the moon, and then lather it in a thoroughly mundane cover of an already mundane song.
This year’s commercial is no different, featuring a young girl staring out into space using her telescope, spotting a lonely old man sitting on the moon, before the ad relentlessly tugs on your heart strings so much that it nearly puts its back out:
The general message of the commercial appears to be “don’t forget about old people this Christmas”, which would explain why John Lewis have partnered with Age UK for the ad. The company have also stated that they will be donating a portion of ‘Man on the Moon’ (the name of the commercial, because commercials actually have official names now) paraphernalia to the charity. I’m not entirely sure what the Man on the Moon merchandise will look like, but considering the last John Lewis ad launched alongside a plushy penguin, I should imagine that this year it will be a stuffed old bloke.
It’s all well and good John Lewis partnering with Age UK in order to deliver the geriatric equivalent of the Dog’s Trust’s “a dog’s not just for Christmas” ads, but consider how ineffectively the retailer is conveying its message. I’m assuming that its intention (outside of making John Lewis appear saintly to us plebeians) is to make us consider how old people we know may be particularly lonely this Christmas, and to welcome them to celebrate the holiday with us. But this little girl isn’t doing that. Yeah, she sent the old guy a little telescope via balloon (the logistics of which we won’t get into), but he was still watching everyone else celebrate with their loved ones while he remained on the moon, miserable and alone.
Reenacting this scene in reality would basically be you inviting an old person to come and join in on your Christmas festivities, only to then inform them that they were actually only allowed to watch through your living room window whilst they stand outside in the snow. This little girl has essentially given the man a conduit with which to channel more misery, witnessing the denizens of Earth having a great time whilst he’s forced to while away the hours in his shit moon home.
“By allowing them to watch you have a good time.”
If you do know an elderly relative who may be spending their Christmas alone this year, then it would obviously be a nice idea to invite them into your home. If you need a mega corporation that sells a store brand table cloth for £45 to tell you that, though, then you’re probably not the empathetic sort anyway.