So it has started, comrades.
The yearly snoozefest of Christmas ads, that is.
The trade press seem to love it, probably because it gives them something to write about other than big data and diversity. I wonder if they realise there other, extremely meaty issues in this industry to interrogate? I would say probably they do, but why bite the hand that feeds you eh?
Anyway, every new Christmas ad is revealed by the trade press as if it is the latest canvas from Da Vinci, and this morning Campaign bring to us these efforts by Morrisons.
Now, I'm not going to lay into these. After all, what's the point? They are so completely middle of the road, it would be like beating a labrador. Cruel and unnecessary. A family, doing family stuff, people in supermarkets looking happy being helped by happy staff whilst happily buying products from abundant shelves. Is this real-life or what? These could be for any supermarket, and they could have been made at any time in the last 50 years.
No, the reason I'm posting these is because of two shots, one in each ad. These shots have me perplexed a little. Now we all know how much preparation and interrogation goes into making a TV ad these days, how much every single shot, every decision, every piece of casting, wardrobe, action, is pored over. So we have to assume that, especially as this is the supermarket's Christmas advertising, every shot is very deliberate, more than deliberate, calculated.
So these shots have me interested. I think there is some foul play at work. Someone is trying to fuck with us. Both shots occur at exactly 20 seconds, exactly halfway through the ads.
In this first ad (below) we see a normal-looking lady, possibly in her fifties, being shown a bag of carrots, as if she has gone up to a member of staff and said "Excuse me, very sorry to bother you I know you're busy, but I've been told of something called 'carrots' - do you know of these?" They walk over to the veg aisle, and the assistant takes a bag of carrots from the top of a giant pile of bags of carrots "These are carrots" says the assistant. The woman looks in wonder at the bag of carrots, and then we are whisked away from this scene, left to wonder.
Who is this lady, who looks as if she has seen a bit of the world, but who doesn't know what carrots are, or where one would find them? She looks like one of us, a normal person, but her actions betray her. Is she some sort of facsimile or artificial intelligence? Or perhaps an infiltrator from another civilisation, here to investigate earth and our human ways? One things is certain, we are left pondering this question way past the endline.
(We need to talk about the endline though, don't we? Christmas. Morrisons Makes It - that's just not true is it? Morrisons don't make Christmas do they? Christmas without Morrisons would be exactly the same as Christmas with Morrisons, the only exception being if you work for Morrisons. This is just a bog-standard lazy lie that makes the client feel good, keeps the agency in the good books, and is completely pointless.)
And the same thing plays out in the second ad, exactly halfway through. Only this time with a bag of satsumas. (This ad seems to have been removed from YouTube by Morrisons so I can't play it here, but you can still watch it on Campaign, here.) A different lady, this one younger, maybe in her thirties, is shown a bag of satsumas as if she is being presented with the Antikythera Mechanism. "Yes" she says "I have heard much of these satsumas, but to actually hold them in my own hands..." And then again we are whisked away, left to wonder on these people. Who are they?
I don't know exactly what to take from these adverts, other than if you are new to planet earth, or new to human culture, the assistants at Morrisons will be happy to introduce you to some of the basic foods eaten by humans. And for that, at least, I think we can be glad that these adverts exist.