Know what pisses me off?
Not the religious aspect of it. Not the travel. Not the family gatherings. Not the four feedings of turkey. Not the messed up deadlines at my newspapers.
Nope, what pisses me off is the marketing of it. I know, that’s crazy talk, coming from a guy who’s salary is paid by advertisers (but hey, I’m an editor, so I leave the ass-kissing to the ad reps).
Here in Ontario, I saw the first commerical with Santa Claus in it on Halloween night. That’s Oct. 31 in Canada, in case Halloween falls on another day in your neck of the woods. I can’t remember what company had the gall to put Santa on display on All Hallows Eve, but I know the commercial ends with Santa tripping on the tree, and wrecking the entire house.
Sort of like I did when I saw the commercial.
But half a month has passed, and I’m used to the Christmas bonanza by now, as I always am by my birthday (which is Monday, by the way, in case you’re in a giving mood). But maybe it’s because I’m only two days from being 29 or maybe it’s because I’m not a girl, but there’s a theme to this Christmas that’s really getting me fired up.
It’s how companies are bringing back toys from the ’80s and directly marketing them at Moms, so they’ll go buy their daughters the Cabbage Patch Kid, Strawberry Shortcake, Barbie, Care Bear, or whatever other crap they played with when they were wee ones.
And the companies aren’t even trying to hide the fact they’re doing it. One Barbie commercial showed a mom reflecting on the Barbies and the fun she had as a kid, and then it returned to present day and a voiceover said (and I paraphrase), “I’m going to buy my little girl this blonde-haired, big breasted, obviously anorexic doll because it brought back warm and fuzzy feelings for me, and dammit, it will do the same for my daughter, even though it will most likely destory her sense of self-worth when she’s a teenager because she’ll think this is how women are supposed to look.”
(As an aside, you have to check out this post at Whiskey in my Sippy Cup about Barbie. It’s disturbing and hilarious all at the same time.)
It’s even happening in my house. The Boss is getting keyed up to buy The Hurricane a Cabbage Patch Kid because she had Christ knows how many in the mid-80s.
“You get to name them, and don’tcha know they’re orphans that live in a goddamn garden? Imagine, a baby sleeping outside in the dirt! It’s our duty to buy one.”
But I guess that’s exactly what advertising is meant to do – create warm memories that the consumer will try to re-create. But at least in the past they’ve been a little more subtle.
But during the Christmas season, they can’t risk losing a sale on subtlety, I guess.