Marks and Spencer is a British retailer which sells everything from clothes to home decor, much like many American mass retailers. It’s also now responsible for creating a new front in the culture wars, as it released an ad, “Thismas,” which outraged many conservatives.
In the ad, M&S attempted to win over shoppers with glamour by showing celebrities engaging in Christmas-time activities. But instead of being warm and cheery, the ad attacked many traditional Christmas activities, with the celebrities featured in it destroying their least favorite parts of the Christmas season.
Particularly, after starting off sweet by showing the celebrities engaging in activities that they obviously don’t love but do to make their friends and families happy, the ad cuts to them doing everything from lighting Christmas napkins on fire with a blowtorch to putting festive holiday hats in a snow cannon and throwing away decorations.
Marks and Spencer shared the ad, meant to win over budget-conscious shoppers, on X (formerly Twitter) with the caption, “Sound the klaxon, our clothing and home Christmas ad for 2023 is here! #LoveThismasNotThatmas.” Watch the ad here:
Predictably, the advertisement drew utter outrage by those who think that the reason for the season has already been forgotten in a sea of commercialism and that this ad makes it even worse with its selfish, anti-tradition and anti-Christmas message.
Commenting on the Marks and Spencer X post, for example, one account called the add “cobblers,” saying, “Your “Thismas” looks complete cobblers to me. Rather than just celebrating novel and personal ways of enjoying Christmas, your ad appears to denigrate traditions that others (including millions of your customers) enjoy. Yet another own goal from a UK household name. *sighs*”
Another commenter called those behind the ad “joy sucking miseries,” saying, “You utter joy sucking miseries. I wish your entire agency, and whoever signed this dribbling mess off, a 2024 of circular, recurring Famileigh dreams.”
Still another commenter said, “What were you thinking ? This is the worst advert ever kicking tradition while you are constantly telling us about M&S history. Utter nonsense.” M&S then tried to defend the ad in a comment, saying, “This year’s ad is about recognising that we all have different Christmases and reminding people that it doesn’t matter how you celebrate, just do what makes you happy 🎄”
A British teacher went even farther in slamming the ad, releasing a letter saying, in part, “You have a duty as our national department store to keep the spirit of Christmas alive for the sake of our children. When our nation is on its knees, trying to keep our spirits high for what we can all achieve together, this is not the time for you to encourage people to ignore the inspirational spirit of Christmas of self-sacrifice, gratitude, giving of one’s time and finances to help one’s fellow man, of children’s laughter, of magical tales of Father Christmas, of kindness and of beauty, and instead tell us ‘to do whatever we want for ourselves’. I run an inner-city school in London, where we try hard to instil values of decency daily in our children. When Marks and Spencer puts two fingers up to these values, it makes our lives as teachers much more difficult and it stifles social mobility and happiness for our children, in particular for the disadvantaged.”
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