It’s time: the weather has plummeted, Christmas spirit is spreading and the emotional rollercoaster that is the John Lewis advert has once again been released. This annual sob-fest has become somewhat of a tradition over the past few years, with 2015’s sentimental message being ‘show someone they’re loved this Christmas’, in order to raise awareness for Age UK.
I sat down, fully prepped with my teddy, a blanket, my emergency chocolate and a roll of loo paper for the inevitable weeping. But instead of collapsing into a snivelling mess, I instead shed a tear at the £1million and seven months spent on the advert. Although having the ‘Man on the Moon’ helped to show elderly isolation, I don’t feel that spending so much on a drawn-out metaphor added anything worthwhile. It may have even been more relatable to just show a neighbour a few doors down, as everyone knows someone who might feel lonely, whether it’s because they’ve lost a spouse, live far away from their family or aren’t with anyone at all. Just think, when is the last time that you invited them round for a Sunday lunch, or just a quick chat?
As a society, a lot of people can easily write off the older generation, and they don’t seem to be included as a large part of our everyday lives. Understandably, the holiday season can be an especially lonely time, but why shouldn’t we be showing people that they’re loved all year round? I mean, there are huge associations and charity drives to make sure that pets are properly looked after all the time, so there’s no reason why this shouldn’t apply to people too. As the saying goes, old people are for life, not just for Christmas.
On the other hand, the simple fact that you’re reading this article and people are talking about the advert is a testament to their success in bringing attention to the loneliness within older generations. The advert has moved a lot of people and highlighted the difference that a simple gesture could make to someone’s life, though I don’t think that it necessarily needs to be shown through a John Lewis ‘Man on the Moon’ activity pack. There are so many wonderful ways to show someone that they’re loved, from a good deed to a kind word, and, honestly, most people value time over hand-outs, so why not opt for this instead? Material goods are not a solution for loneliness.
I must say though, that the advert is growing on me – I did find myself with a tear creeping its way into my eye after a third viewing, yet this may be due to the heightened emotions that a rocky hangover and no sleep leaves you with. The chilling vocals did indeed resonate through my cold black heart, leaving me with goose bumps and a sudden need to sing Oasis’ Half The World Away to my flat mates all day – something that got everyone into the Christmas spirit.
Overall, it was thought provoking and had its heart in the right place. However, I don’t think that we should limit our kindness to Christmas – whilst John Lewis could have spent their advertising money on actually doing something for the elderly, rather than just a mere sentiment.