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John Lewis and Age UK join forces with Christmas Ad

by on November 9, 2015

As soon as Halloween had passed the Christmas TV adverts started to appear, with great anticipation and speculation awaiting the arrival of the John Lewis advert.  It seems that over the last few years this has become a critical event that heralds the start of the Christmas season.  I am sure the Advent calendar will soon be reconfigured that that the first window reflects this.

For 2015 John Lewis has joined forces with Age UK to produce an advert highlighting the issue of loneliness at Christmas.  As you would imagine there has been much discussion in the press about the advert itself asking questions such as: is it as good as last year? (no, in my opinion)  does the disregard of physics matter? (yes, in my opinion).  There have also been stories discussing the soundtrack, the actors’ families and their past lives and an emerging number of parodies of the advert (including one in which Cornwall sends Devon a Cornish pasty and another replacing the old man with Darth Vadar).

At the same time there has been some reaction which has focused on the age imagery within the advert.  While we all know that the old man is not ‘really’ living on the moon, some coverage has questioned the need to show such an extreme notion of isolation.  Some even suggested it was as though he had been exiled or sent there because he had committed an awful crime.  Others focused on the issue that the isolation was not resolved.  He just gets a (very small) telescope.  Why not invite him round for dinner?  (Since reality has been fully suspended a wave of a magic wand should suffice here I think.)  Or send him a smartphone so he can actually communicate – the half-hearted wave is not a great ending.

But perhaps this is missing the point.  (Well the point is obviously to get us to do our Christmas Shopping at John Lewis but let’s stick with Age UK’s point for now.)  Loneliness can feel like being on a different planet and small gestures (like the telescope) help but regular contact is the real way forward.  It is just a shame that this is not more broadly applied to all lonely people not just those in a certain age group.

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