I’m somewhat immune to the Christmas bug, and it usually takes a great deal of coaxing to massage much holiday spirit from my cold, dead heart, but this year I feel particularly sour on the whole month of December. As I watched my eleventy billionth episode of House Hunters this weekend, it finally hit me what had been bothering me so much: the holiday commercials this year feel especially—what’s the phrase I’m looking for? Oh, right: soul-suckingly awful.
The theme of Christmas 2011? Materialism turned up to 11. Sure, year after year we’re inundated with a barrage of Buy Her Box With Rocks ads, but this year seemed particularly skeevy. Here are some of the season’s most forehead-slappingly terrible holiday ads.
1. Best Buy’s “Game On, Santa” campaign
Whatever your belief system, there’s really very little to hate about Santa. He goes around giving toys to all the good little girls and boys. He’s jolly, he loves cookies, and he embodies the spirit of giving. So what is this woman’s beef with Santa?
Seriously, what’s your childhood trauma, lady? This ad can be especially perplexing for children: “Mommy, why is that lady being so mean to Santa?” All I can say is, I share their confusion.
2. Audi’s “Eff You, Son!” ad
Aww, look at mom and dad, so excited for their son’s arrival home for the holidays…so that they can hot-wire his car and go out for a joyride.
Geez, mom and dad, why don’t you squander our financial futures and suck up all the Social Security while you’re at it? Oh wait.
3. Crazy Target Lady
I actually love Maria Bamford as a stand-up, but her turn as the Crazy Target Lady makes me feel the need to hit the medicine cabinet hard. The whole ad campaign, which began last year, is built around holiday shopping as a competitive sport, which is enough to get me screaming for more benzos. Target Lady may be only a slightly exaggerated version of some of the shoppers you may encounter at Target, but that aspect is one of the biggest reasons I dread Christmas. In past years, I have come to count on retailers to spin beautiful lies for me about the spirit of giving and downplay the fact that shopping in the month of December makes me want to drink until I can’t feel my toes. If Target keeps running these ads, I’m going to need a new liver.
4. Lexus’s Stupid &#$@&(*%!! December to Remember ads
I used to think there was nothing more annoying than those Car-With-A-Big-Red-Bow commercials. Who gets a $40,000 Christmas present? But then Lexus decided to up their game. Now, not only are we supposed to swallow the concept of getting a Lexus for Christmas, but we’re also asked to accept the premise that Lexus has some sort of instantly recognized jingle so universal that, when we hear it, it can only mean one thing: “Dude, you’re getting a Japanese luxury sedan!” Excuse my naivete, but before these commercials started airing, did Lexus have a theme song? This whole campaign strikes me the way people who make up their own nicknames do. Thankfully, I still have Folgers’ Peter as a welcome palate cleanser. I love this 2009 redux of the iconic Christmas ad even more than the original.
What holiday commercials have gotten your goat this year?