Though I say this at the risk of sounding extremely dorky, I've always loved Christmas commercials. I'm sure that's at least partially because of the warm 'n' cozy image of happy family time so many portray – and the fact that the ads herald one of my favorite seasons, and one that sticks around only for a limited time.
That said: If I lived to be 100 and never saw another Kay Jewelers commercial, I would be positively exultant. Who knew there were so many different ways to be tooth-rottingly sappy, and with a holiday theme, no less? This year, though, they've definitely got company on the Bad List. The chief offender, at least in my book? The Gap ads featuring the world’s most annoying cheerleading team and junior cheerleading squad, chanting about plaids and boots to a marching band-inspired soundtrack that makes me wistful for the days when "Hollaback Girl" was still overplayed. And as if seeing it on TV wasn't enough, the retailer has also dispatched an accompanying "cheer squad" and drumline to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago for street performances throughout the season, traveling in a plaid bus. Alas, there's no Charlotte stop.
Gap has a history of memorable-in-a-good-way TV commercials (i.e.: the 1990s' "Khakis Swing"), so on one hand it's encouraging to see the company return to the airwaves after several years' absence. And the ads do tend to burrow into your consciousness in a way that gets you thinking about the Gap, at least momentarily – which for many people is something that hasn't happened in a long time. So maybe that’s a plus for the company. But I'm not sure they're going to fill me with the urge to go out and immediately purchase a plaid shirt (as much as I adore plaid, and believe me, I do).
Apparently, other people don't necessarily agree: The National Retail Federation today released the results of a survey asking shoppers about their favorite Christmas ads this year, and the Gap came in fourth, behind Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy. I'm not sure if that speaks to the commercials' effectiveness or simply the fact that people remembered seeing them, but perhaps those areas overlap. The rest of the list, by the way: Macy's (5), Old Navy (6), Kmart (7), Sears (8), Hallmark (9) and Kohl's (10). No word on where Kay Jewelers landed.
So, tell me: Any other holiday offenders you’d like to nominate?