Thursday, November 29, 2007

What the Hell is Going On?

Have you seen Sears' new marketing campaign? It's called the "Don't just give a gift, grant a wish" campaign, and I'm only aware of it because it's been gravely offending me with its TV spots this holiday season.


The first time it came to my attention, I didn't see the whole commercial. What I did see was a mother throwing open the door to a ten-year-old girl's walk-in closet to reveal about thirty outfits complete with shoes, excessories, etc. The girl squealed and hugged her mom, and over this timeless image of familial joy a spokeswoman advised, "This holiday season, don't just give a gift. Grant a wish!"

I'd obviously misheard. Or missed an essential part of the commercial. This kid was dying from cancer, right? She was a crackhead baby who spent her life in a burlap sack and had finally been adopted into a family who acknowleged the necessity of clothing, right? At the very least, the mother must've warned the girl just before I tuned in, "Now Susie, remember that we'll be sharing what's in here with your thirteen other sisters." Right??

Wrong. A few days later, I saw the commercial in full and all I'd missed was the mom explaining, "Susie has always loved fashion. She wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up. But the last couple of years, she's gone a school that requires a uniform!" Cut to shot of privately-educated Susie walking home from school in plaid and knee socks, the poor thing. "Well, this year, Susie's moving to a new school that doesn't require uniforms, and I decided to make her Christmas really special." Cut to closet door, cut to wretched excess, cut to spoiled, spoiled child hugging indulgent, credit card-weilding mom. Dad isn't around. He's out whipping the backs of Chinese slaves to pay for his TEN-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER'S BRAND NEW WARDROBE.

Is this not insane to anyone else?

This year, Sears has given up on advertising present possibilities to instead suggest that America buy multiples of what would've been one generous gift in past years. Are we really there? As a nation, I mean? Has innovation just given up? Have we forgone the possibility of spending our declining dollars on, I dunno, eco-friendly, oil-free, socially-aware products and instead said fuck it, let's just buy ten of what we already have? Who's idea was this?

Oh, that's right. Sears.

It's spreading, too. I saw another Sears commercial that showed a giggling family reveal to a shocked dad that this year, the hell with saving for college! Insead we got you...an entire garage filled with tools! And I think it's American Express? Maybe Visa that has a holiday commercial showing dad surprising mom with not one, but two cars. The implication being, "Any hardworking jackass can buy his wife one car. But are you man enough to take on the debt of two brand new, overly-loaded, luxury vehicles?"

And people are treating this like it's completely normal. I Googled "Don't just give a gift, grant a wish" and the articles that came up were all on how nice it is that Sears is including brown people in its commercials and going green this year by offering their catalogue online. I feel like I'm going crazy.

Don't let them do this to us, America. We've well explored the path of excess and look where it got us. The last thing we should want is to widen it into a five-lane interstate of excess. So this year, you should consider not buying things at all, and if you must, I'm sure one will suffice. And whatever you do, DON'T BUY IT FROM SEARS.

I mean...Jesus.

15 comments:

Justin said...

The worst commercials as far as wretched excess go are the Lexus Christmas gift one. Merry Christmas, I got you a $50,000 car using 'our' money without discussing it with you.

cynthia said...

i wonder if you remember the years i would announce to you and kyle: you guys are not going to get ANYTHING that you NAG ABOUT that you SAW ON TV. it sure would stop the begging. little did you know that we probably wouldn't be buying that crap anyway, and you always seemed contented with art supplies, books, music, clothes. but not always purists, while we did not succumb to Cabbage Patch dolls, Barbie Playhouses, or electronic game machines . . . do you remember your My Little Pony Dream Castle?

cynthia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sallie said...

Miranda,
I am so with you on this one. Ever since my official Christmas boycott of 2003 I feel sickened by all of it. I was disgusted before my boycott, but by really stepping back from it you get a clearer picture of how bad it all really is.

Last night your Mom and I were watching TV and they kept showing diamond necklaces. It seemed that there were at least three different jewelers taking turns advertising on the same network. Each one was advertising the same damn diamond necklace with just a slightly different twist, one had square shaped diamonds, one round but all are in a graduated squiggle.

This is not a new design, I remember seeing it last year too. I guess they wait for EVERYONE to buy this one, then they change designs.

Then the worst part of this whole advertisement campaign is "every kiss begins with Kaye" Your Mom heard this and said in total disgust "it does not" I guess none of us who do not have a gift from Kaye jewelers have ever been kissed.

As soon as half of America maxes out their credit cards to buy this particular diamond necklace it will become passe'. Next year it will be a new design , but no worries, I guarantee you will be sent a new credit card with a lot more credit and you can buy the new diamond design along with a entire wardrobe from Sears for your preteen age daughter. Why not throw in a Lexus while you are at it.

Furthermore,I am so sick of everyone complaining about how much work Christmas is, yet everyone does it all it anyway. This is a choice folks.

When I think about the fact that I am not even a Christian the concept of boycotting Christmas is easy for me. How about a Festivus for the rest of us.

robin said...

....i can't help but add this...but, I really do mean Jesus...and wasn't he the point of it all anyway...I think if Christ's second coming ever occurs on his own supposed birthday - his Sears Wish will be that he'd never have made the trek here in the first place....we're sooooo not worth it....i've taken to celebrating Winter Solstice instead and looking forward to Passover, when my faith gets resurrected a bit more every year.... : )

didi979 said...

All:

by the way . . . if you go to the Seva Foundation you can donate to support Yoga Ed. programs in schools in poor neighborhoods. In a few weeks (I hope) you can actually donate in support of my Yoga Ed. program at the Early Childcare Centers of Greater Springfield. So, you can actually kill two birds with one stone . . . you can support the development of healthy living habits in 400 infants and toddlers, their parents and teachers, most of which live below the national poverty level and you can take care of Christmas!

Lots of hugs,
Dianne

didi979 said...

All:

by the way . . . if you go to the Seva Foundation you can donate to support Yoga Ed. programs in schools in poor neighborhoods. In a few weeks (I hope) you can actually donate in support of my Yoga Ed. program at the Early Childcare Centers of Greater Springfield. So, you can actually kill two birds with one stone . . . you can support the development of healthy living habits in 400 infants and toddlers, their parents and teachers, most of which live below the national poverty level and you can take care of Christmas!

Lots of hugs,
Dianne

alicia said...

Last Christmas I was job coaching at a grocery store site. A woman who worked part time at the service desk broke down one day because she did not know how she would buy gifts for her son. I didn't know what to say to her. I couldn't say her 6 year-old wouldn't know the difference; it's just not true.

Alos, I'm looking at this from a marketing prospective. Do they really think with the war dragging on, and people losing their homes, that this is the best ad campaign to draw in business?

PS-> If I see one more 12 year old with a Coach purse I'm seriously going to lose it :)

Anonymous said...

are you people insane it's just a commercial quit complaining about something that isn't even that important in the journey of life. find something better to do with your time/life then sit on the computer talking crazy about something unimportant...this is coming froom a 14 yr. old child... get a life onlychild

Anonymous said...

Ha. Excessories. You're witty.

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