As our society progresses, so too do our holiday traditions.
Nowadays, for example, it seems the Christmas advert is as much a part of the festive season as Boxing Day sales, mince pie eating competitions and falling asleep in front of the TV with a turkey sandwich on your chest.
Christmas adverts are everywhere, from the traditional Coca Cola truck (why change a classic?) and the increasingly insufferable John Lewis ads, to Iceland having their advert banned (see below), and this year’s surprise standout star – the plug from the Sainsbury’s ad.
The one thing these commercials have in common is big budgets. Christmas marketing is, to quote our Lord Alan Sugar, big business. And this year has thrown up some big adverts hoping to attract some of that market.
However, not everyone can make such grand statements as a boy dressed as a giant plug jumping into a wall. Some businesses, who need your support far more than any retail giant, just don’t have the budgets of other companies, and have to make do with limited resources.
While other people, filmmakers for example, just want to show that you don’t need millions of pounds to make a decent video, you just need a good idea and 50 quid.
Phil Beastall, a 32-year-old filmmaker, made such a film. Titled Love is a Gift, it shows a man counting down the days to Christmas in anticipation of the festivities.
Instead, however, the man has his own tradition – listening to a cassette on his Walkman to hear a special message from his mum.
Check it out:
Ok, dry your eyes, it’s emotional but heartwarming, right?
Since releasing the short film, its maker Phil has been inundated with messages saying it should’ve been used instead of the now infamous £7 million Elton John Lewis advert, while others have suggested he make their next one.
Phil, from Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, said:
People seem to like my film because it’s the story that shines through. You don’t always need a huge budget, just an impactful narrative that gets the message across.
I think there’s a bit of a revolution going on in the advertising industry. People no longer want to be overtly sold something which makes our job as video producers a lot harder because we have to sell indirectly.
But the good thing about this is that when selling to consumers we can focus on selling lifestyles and indirectly sell the products or services that fit that lifestyle.
A lot of people are struggling financially so to hear that millions is being spent on these campaigns isn’t sitting well with people.
People have been saying that it’s just an opportunity to celebrate Elton John and promote his new film.
Having said that, I enjoyed John Lewis’s advert. I liked the fact that a success story like Elton’s can start with something as simple as receiving a piano.
But if John Lewis knocked on my door tomorrow and said would you want to make next year’s film I would obviously snap it up in an instant.
Fingers crossed for 2019!
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.