Tug at my heart-strings but not with war, not this year

The Richmond Arms
, West Ashling

THE DISH DETECTIVE: The Richmond Arms, West Ashling, near Chichester

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So the votes are in for Christmas advert of 2014 and I’ve gone for...Waitrose. Yep, you read that right, Waitrose.

Christmas ads have turned from selling products into selling us stories in recent years.

It’s no longer good enough to show something tinselly and a shop and expect us to be queuing up for our goodies.

Now us consumers expect to be laden with emotion, have a narrative and be taken on a journey.

Christmas adverts have become like those made for the Superbowl in the USA. They’re an event in themselves.

This year we’ve got a fine mix. Boots creates a special moment for a mum/nurse who has to work on Christmas Day, bringing the family together on Boxing Day.

M&S has a couple of fairies flying around, peeking in windows and interfering in people’s lives.

John Lewis has gone for the penguin in need of a loving friend, while Sainsbury’s has set the internet on fire over its portrayal of the mythical football game of peace during the First World War .

Expressing my feelings about what I felt was the crassness of the Sainsbury advert, I was called a ‘hater’ on the internet.

But after touring the battlefields, seeing the graveyards, hearing from historians about the pain and the horror, the death and the destruction caused, plus watching countless hours of documentaries, to see one moment of purity (whether true or not) being hijacked to sell products caused me offence.

Tug at my heart-strings, but not with war, not this year, not when the poppies made London fall silent.

It made me wonder, though, if the advert wasn’t supporting the Royal British Legion, would Sainsbury’s have made it? I doubt it very much. It’s because of its association with an association that it’s made okay for the national psyche.

But I liked Waitrose’s ad with its young girl begrudgingly learning to make gingerbread, struggling, getting better and then finally feeling the worth of her endeavour.

It won’t get me into the popular club on the internet, but the world keeps on turning.