Thank you for writing. I did read through each and every paragraph of your article — quickly, mind you — and you certainly raise some good points. Remember, I don’t know the supermarket chain in question, I’m writing an ocean away, and I don’t know their corporate culture, their philanthropy, or what they’ve done in previous years. (Perhaps the do an annual Christmas advert just as surely as Cliff Richard releases an annual Christmas single.)
Permit me then just two quick comments. First, I think what you’ve written is more of a case study on the nature of advertising in general, the philosophy of marketing, the creating of a brand identity. Whether they use kids or kittens, there is often an emotional, evocative appeal to the heartstrings playing on values such as family, bravery, loyalty, etc. It’s certainly a higher art form than saying, “Everything in our men’s department is 30% off now through Wednesday.”
Second, I think your headline is just as provocative as mine (unintentionally) was. I labeled the piece “The Spirit of Christmas” with about five second forethought, and actually had another more important blog post that ran that day as well. But yours implies that Christmas is all ruined, we might as well pack everything up for this year and not bother.
If the values we attach to Christmas are as solid as I believe they are, it will take a force far greater than Sainsbury’s advertising agency to destroy them.
Perhaps the greater value of their advert is actually exactly what you’ve written, a pause to consider what really matters in the light of the surrounding culture of commercialism and consumerism.