Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The good, the grating and the Gap: What's your take on this year's holiday TV ads?

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?


Anonymous said...

I hate them. They start after Halloween and don't end until sometime after New Year's. Did I mention that I hate them?

Reggie D. said...

I actually like the GAP ad with the little girls doing their rap. "How cute, are these boots!"

But I can't stand the Lexus commercials with all the sliver cars and red bows.

Algernon said...

Nothing says Christmas like
Van Dyke puffing for Santa



"....I'd like to teach the world to sing......."

That was a commercial, all other commercials depending on era were a waste of celluloid, and or bytes.

Can we get back to the obama bashing now?

Susan said...

Love the Gap ad with the little girls. They're so cute.

And I do like the Best Buy one that goes "he's gonna have a cow - MOO!"

But other than that, this year's selection of Christmas ads has been bland.

Anonymous said...

I have to mute the TV whenever the stupid smiley face from HH Gregg comes on and sings to the theme of "Deck The Halls". Talk about annoying!

Anonymous said...

Some are OK, but right now the current line of Belks commericals running with the "sexy" Santa Baby song is awful- and to me just does not have a Christmas feel- I think more of Marylin Monroe than I do Santa.

Anonymous said...

I agree that some are awful, and some are awesome. My favorites this year are the Gap ad with the little girls (mentioned previously) "how cute are these boots?" and the one for TJ Maxx/Marshalls with the carollers singing about if you bought it at the mall, you paid too much.

Anonymous said...

I used to like Christmas ads when they were about CHRISTMAS, but these politically correct "holiday" ads make me nauseous. Bring back Merry Christmas and Christmas commercials. And leave out all the snotty, gag-inducing kids while you're at it. How about some Christmas commercials featuring adults for a change?

Nick said...

Oh my ... I HAD to leave a comment. Jen, I'm with ya. How cute are those boots? Gag me with the fake cuteness of all of it.

The Old Navy mannequins are on TV now ... not a fan there either.

With you on the Kay Jewelers too.

I'm trying really hard to think of commercials I like ...

Sujatha said...

I agree that the GAP ads don't really make me want to buy the clothes as much but I think it's a fun idea for the little kids group - it certainly grabs my three year old's attention.
As far as other Christmas ads, I think some of the ones for Target are pretty funny.

Anonymous said...

Bud weiser and Coca Cola ads featuring animals (live and animated) are the best no matter what the season. My favorite Christmas TV ad was from a few years ago - the ones in which the wife would point to her ear, neckline or wrist and ask the husband Do you see anything here?

I'm with you on the jewelry store ads - gag me.

Anonymous said...

A raspy-voiced woman shilling for Kent cigarettes. It just doesn't get any better than that.