Who Started Making the Holidays So Commercial Anyway?

It's A Wonderful Life

It's A Wonderful Life

Working in the advertising business, I get plenty of jeers from my friends and family around the holidays for my role in the commercialization of the holidays. I must admit, that even I at times wish the holidays weren’t so crass and commercial. That was until I watched the holiday classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart.

No. It wasn’t Clarence. Or the sweet Mrs. Bailey and her love for her husband. Or even ZuZu and her precious little smile that changed my mind.

It was a beautiful act of good old-fashioned brand logo placement that changed my downcast world view that modern agencies and their brands are to blame for the commercialization of the holidays.

The scene happens during the part when Jimmy Stewart’s character is running through the main street of Pottersville. On either side drinking and dancing establishments flash their attractions and burlesque shows offer a peek at a titillating sight. On the left hand side of the street, just up a bit, you will notice a huge, lit Coca-Cola sign on which the camera stays just a bit too long. The sign actually competes for frame a bit with the hero!

Now, I don’t have any proof that agencies and brands were deliberately placing product logos in front of susceptible viewers eyes back then, but I would wager it wasn’t placed there on accident. (I also have an inkling that Macy’s department store may have had to grease a few palms to score it’s starring role in “Miracle on 34th Street”, but can’t prove that either.) You can call me cynical all you like, but at least I wasn’t the one to start capitalizing on the holiday cheer to promote a brand or make a quick buck.

Now I’m not saying that advertising during the holidays is bad or makes you into a mean old Mr. Potter if you do choose to grab some sales amidst the holiday cheer. Just let’s agree here and now to keep it genuine and classy and not succumb to all this commercialization.

So what’s my advice to rise above the commercialization of the holidays? Stay away from an overabundance of jolly ol’ Saint Nicks, snowflakes, Christmas trees and red ribbons. Rise above these tired clichés and your ads will soar high above the din and clang of the grubby merchant stalls and mountains of free standing inserts like a bright, shining star over a tiny village with a manger.

On behalf of everyone here at the Accelerator Companies,

Merry Holichriskwanhannukamas everyone!

Author: Mr. Timo Matero, Founder and Director, Accelerator Advertising, Inc.