Tag Archives: Holidays

Fun Friday Fact #5

The production of Advent calendars was halted by wartime shortages.

Christopher Hitchens is dead and suddenly the world is a much more gloomy place. But life continues and it’s that time of the week again. We must carry on as best we can. We’re looking at a Christmassy one today, it being the season and all that.

It’s a haunting image, isn’t it? The Advent calendars I mean. All those long dark days of despair. But war is tragedy, my friends, and tragedy comes in many guises.

The Advent calendar is a German invention that began in 1851 with a Mr. Gerhard Lang, whose festive mother used to mark for her son each day of Advent by attaching little candles to pieces of cardboard. In an effort to cling on to this childish high, or at least to profit from it, a now adult Mr. Lang created a calendar of his own.

After the war, the production of (German) Advent calendars (as I understand it the only serious kind of Advent calendar around at the time) resumed in 1946. Eisenhower is generally credited with the popular spread of the tradition across the United States, although it is safe to say that the calendars we enjoy today probably bear little resemblance to their more stoic German predecessors

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Adverts Again

Love Christmas, hate Christmas adverts and you’ll get far in life. At least that’s what I’m told…

My position on this matter should not come as a surprise to you, even those of you drifting off at the very back, seeing as I loathe almost all adverts of any kind and have publicised this fact in three posts to date (see related articles for more information). Today I decided that Christmas adverts merit a post all to themselves. This is because if your average advert is irritating, then there is a sense that your Christmas advert is on a level unto itself.

There are so many awful examples to chose from – the Boots adverts are a particular bone of contention for me, as I struggle to unearth the supposedly apparent comedy from behind the startlingly unfunny ‘here come the girls’ campaign – but I do think the Toys-R-Us adverts compel particular notice.

So here we go:

First things first – the tune is not catchy, so don’t you dare say it is.

Moving on, if you weren’t content with the windowed version and pursued the video to Youtube itself for the ‘real experience’ the first thing you might have noticed (other than how crap the advert is) is that comments have been disabled. This is a worrying sign. As I noted in earlier posts it at once displays an awareness on the part of the uploader – this time Mr. Toys-R-Us himself – with regard to how the video could be received and an astonishing willingness to upload in any case. One might go as far as to say that, as Mr. T sees it, Toys-R-Us will get noticed, by Hook or by Crook (for origin see here).

Shameful acts of self-publising aside there is an important point here. Or at least there was… I’ve lost it now, so I’ll settle for this – wasn’t it a bit unnerving that the song was sung by a grown woman, or at least what sounded like a grown woman? I mean, if the ambition  is to appeal to a new generation of Toys-R-Us kids (the old generation, of which I was once an avid member, now being all but halfway to middle-age) why on earth wasn’t it sung by a child, if it had to be sung at all? You don’t get adults modelling children clothing, or singing about them for that matter.

You might say that the above is a clumsy analogy (and you’d be quite right) but I think that it works on a deeper level, by virtue of the fact that its very incompetence is itself analogous to how dreadful the Toys-R-Us campaign really is.

Perhaps, after all, it is supposed to be a child singing the song. That would make sense, given the content of the lyrics, because who else would sing a song about not wanting to grow up other than a child who doesn’t want to grow up? However the water is muddied at this point by the fact that the song contains the lyric ‘ooh baby’.

What we have ourselves here is a diachotomy. If, on the one hand, the singer is a child, then who on earth could they be identifying as a ‘baby’. Have things really progressed that much since I was a lad? Do the more adventurous four year olds now meet by the sand box to exchange a shy glance or two and  drool on each others’ clothing (a much more satisfactory ending to a date than many I have attended, it must be said)?

On the other hand, if the singer is not a child one wonders why they are singing the song in the first place, and, more pertinently, why they are singing it to their girlfriend/boyfriend. Quite frankly they should be ashamed of themselves. Some things aren’t meant for sharing; that you want to remain a Toys-R-Us kid is one of them. We can’t play with our lego forever friend, however much we want to. 😦

Either way you look at things – whichever path you take – the advert does not make any sense at all. I was once a Toys-R-Us kid; I am a Toys-R-Us kid no more. And this has as much to do with this advert as it does with long decaying passage of time.

Related Articles:

The Halifax Adverts

Am I The Only One Who Finds It Embarrassing When Adverts For My Bank Come On The Television

Are You Listening Halifax? This Is How You Make An Advert

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