By Jonathon Van Maren
Despite their corporate aims, many holiday season commercials released over the last few years have been very powerful. There was the 2021 Chevy ad highlighting a daughter comforting her widowed father in a four-minute mini-film more powerful than most Oscar winners. In 2014, Sainesbury’s released a Christmas advert with The Royal British Legion depicting the 1914 Christmas Truce for the centennial of that magnificent event. And this year, the retailer John Lewis released a beautiful ad showing a prospective foster father preparing for the arrival of a foster child, taking great pains to learn out to skateboard.
But as the sexual revolution conquers everything, we’re beginning to see creative talents turn towards selling not just family, home, and heritage – but gender ideology, alternative lifestyles, and even, as we saw recently, assisted suicide (that famous Simon’s video has been deleted, and it has since been revealed that the woman featured in the film opted for assisted suicide after failing to procure the help she needed). Sprite released an ad promoting “breast-binders” for teens, with a smiling grandma sending her grandchild off to Pride in drag. Gillette very famously released a transgender ad with a father helping his daughter who identifies as male shave for the first time. And Starbucks released an ad in 2020 that also glamorized transgenderism, telling the story of a “transgender kid” hearing a new chosen name for the first time.
The latest addition to this growing list was a Christmas ad released by J&B Blended Scotch Whisky in Spain titled “She, a Christmas tale by J&B.” It begins with a very traditional scene – a flock of sheep on the move, a traditional village in the background, an old man by the fire. But then, as the song “She” plays in the background, the story emerges – the grandfather is trying to learn how to apply makeup. There are weird, mildly grotesque scenes of the old man attempting to put on bright red lipstick, making him look like the Joker. He buys makeup; gets magazines; tries to apply eye shadow. Initially, it appears as if the point of the film is going to be that the old man himself is considering donning a new identity.