‘Tis the Season for a Cliché

By: Lewis Allen, Director of Environments, Portland Design   •   email: info@trunblocked.com

Spoiler Alert: This blog is pun heavy and has been liberally influenced by the genre of Christmas cracker humour. Just saying…

Yes, you can tell that Christmas is near because Santa’s presents is all around. Together with his posse of flying reindeer and indefatigable elves, Santa’s joviality reminds us that another year is over and a new one’s nearly begun.

However, this close to the big day, you may already be suffering from Tinsel-itis. This seasonal feeling of claus-strophobia can be caused by over exposure to Santa Claus and all things Christmas. Tinsil-itis is a concern for Elf and Safety directors and TR professionals, who know that customers can become fatigued by over exposure to too many Christmas clichés.

So, here it is, our brief guide to surviving some of Christmas’s more clichéd experiences.

1. Christmas Fragrance Ads:


An unmissable festive perennial. Fragrance commercials always make for melodramatic and sometimes hilariously pompous watching. These intoxicating ads beguile us with hallucinogenic spritz of passion or rebellion or addiction or individuality or simply WTF. Whilst simultaneously reminding ordinary mortals that real life is considerably less exotic and that we’re boring/and/or kind of ugly in comparison.

Verdict: Totally LOL stuff. However, limit your viewing to avoid causing low elf-esteem.

2. Christmas Craziness:


Wondering how to sleigh the dragon of consumer apathy? For many brands the answer is super über-Christmassy-themed product strategy. These brands know that ‘regular’ gifts such as scented candles, bath gift sets and personalised pens are a menace to festive footfall and clickfall. To tickle our collective apathy, they dream up sacks full of dubious yuletide novelties. This year, would your Christmas be made more special with some Marmite flavoured sprouts (from Iceland UK)? Could a Rudolph mankini (Amazon, USA) add an extra frisson to your mistletoe moment this year? Perhaps ‘beardaments’ are your clickbait? Surely any man with these mini ornaments attached to his beard will be the talk of the office party?

Verdict: Bah humbug! Please keep this craziness out of my stocking.

3. Sentimental Selling:


Mary and Joseph aren’t the only ones with a stable relationship. Meet Doris and Edward Bair. These adorable bears are the stars of Heathrow Airport’s Christmas advertising campaign, entitled: ”Making it home, makes it Christmas”. Check it out with a handkerchief at the ready – just in case it all gets too much. It’s a well-crafted cliché-fest, oozing with mushy, gooey, sentimental schmaltz.

Verdict: Ring the bells, this production is no turkey.

4. Virtual Christmas:


Less Yo ho ho! and more Oh! Oh! Oh! describes the shopping apocalypse rampaging through much of domestic retail these days. Some malls and high streets fight today’s so-called retail Armageddon by ghosting the real world with experiences such as the augmented reality (AR) app at Liverpool ONE shopping centre. This app encourages visitors to capture their on tree fairy on a 30m illuminated Christmas tree. Or there’s the ”Where’s Rudolph?” AR campaign by Blippar, which makes festive sport of hunting for virtual reindeer flying around London’s Covent Garden.

Verdict: This stuff is right up my chimney. I’m dreaming of an infinite Christmas.