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Monday, 15 November 2010

Iceland go All-In with an absolute stomper

Iceland's Moulin Rouge based advert is awful and awesome in equal measure. The use of T-Rex's 20th Century Boy is something of a mixed blessing - fantastic riff well used, but inappropriate to the extreme! Still, much more watchable than Argos' Bing - which is now confirmed to have been withdrawn after a shower of complaints.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

John Lewis go for a "John Lewis" type of Christmas advert

OK, perhaps that's too cruel a description of their Xmas ad, but ten seconds into the 60-second ad on the first viewing I was very sure that it was an ad for John Lewis! It's also pretty good, if a little bit obvious for them.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

More music channels switch over to Christmas programming

42 days to go, and VH1, MTV Classic, and Smash Hits now feature rather a lot of Christmas videos, joining Bliss which had a two-week head-start on them. With Remembrance Day out of the way, the Christmas run-up is now switching to top gear. Of course, that means that the music videos are a bit obscure at times, with plenty of awful novelty tracks - "Is This The Way To Santa's Grotto?" is just the start of it, so bad that the music video isn't on any of the online video sites. So, I'll just leave this one with you to cringe over...

Dear me...

Friday, 12 November 2010

Cue the Co-Op...

Gabriella Chilme's returned to the annual Christmas gig with "Warm this Christmas" for the Co-Op's Christmas ad campaign. 6 weeks to go...

See the ad at 3m20s in:

Let the third wave commence...

...starting with a newcomer to the Festive Fray: Matalan. It's a great debut:

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Have Argos retired Bing off?

No sign of the awful Bing Crosby Argos advert for a few days now - have they retired it out of shame? Here's one of their better Xmas ads from 2007:

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Glade's quickie isn't one to be missed

With the second wave of Christmas ads having peaked, it's nice to still have the odd unmissable one to watch out for. Small but perfectly formed, enjoy it at 1m10s into Youtube's XmasTVElf's third collection of Christmas adverts:

Monday, 8 November 2010

It's not *all* television, you know...

Radio also plays its part at Christmas - some of the best live radio is done on the overnight shifts during Christmas and New Year. Or at least it was back in the '80s.

Picture the scene... BBC Radio 1, 1980-something - well before the big 1989/1990 shake-up which turned it from the most popular station in the country to something a little more youth-orientated. These are the times of Simon Bates, Steve Wright, Gary Davies, and of course DLT - Dave Lee Travis. The relief DJ at the time was Adrian Juste, who also did a comedy clips show every Saturday. Saturdays for me would start with Saturday Superstore or Going Live on BBC1 before switching over to Adrian Juste's Radio 1 show.

Now this was the 80s... the comedy which reached the primetime airwaves wasn't exactly cutting edge - if you were lucky, you'd get some Jack Dee, but it was mainly '50s/'60s/'70s vintage, such as Kenneth Williams and Les Dawson. But come Christmas, Adrian Juste also had a four-hour graveyard slot Christmas and New Years Eve, I think running from 10pm to 2am.

Well after the watershed.

I don't remember if it was live (probably not), but the extended show allowed for some original sketches to be written and performed, leading to material which was a little edgier. Edgier for a teenager, that is - this stuff leaned more towards early The Mary Whitehouse Experience rather than anything sharper, but teenaged me loved it.

Fast-forward a decade or two and suddenly the sharper comedy is the mainstream, and Radio 4's comedy line-up contains a good cross-section of what's available. Listen Again on the BBC website is a wonderful invention. Ironically, it's the longest-running show which is pushing the primetime boundaries - "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" has some very rude (and sometimes quite graphic!) jokes, especially the tales of their scorer, Samantha. Then, in 2003, they did a Christmas extended special, their take on A Christmas Carol. It featured comics from the current scene, plus the four stalwarts who date back to the '60s. The mix of current material and legendary performers was a hit with me - give it a whirl...

Sunday, 7 November 2010

A Christmas ident Easter Egg

I hadn't noticed this before, but TV Ark has highlighted this on Youtube. This is one of the 2004 BBC1 idents - look in the bottom right corner about 20 seconds in as one of the kids falls off the bouncing pudding and fails to get on again. Awww!

Boots' "Here Come The Girls" adverts continue to please and annoy

No sign of the ultra-long Christmas advert yet, but the best of the current ones is the following:

And the most annoying?

Although the tech support ad rings true...

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Christmas 24 is on during the November weekends

As mentioned before, Christmas 24 is on now on Sky channels 327 and 328. Put your mind on the hook and let the festiveness wash over you! Although as I said before, don't expect greatness - flicking through the listings on the EPG shows that the movies on this weekend weren't amongst the better ones they showed last December!

More Christmas ads

A quick catch-up of the other Christmas ads that have appeared recently: have produced a less annoying advert than the one they produced last year, but the M&S food adverts are just inappropriate with their current disco theme.

Friday, 5 November 2010

50 days to go...

...and I've already bought the Christmas cards for this year. The Christmas lights in town are due to be switched on soon, and the Christmas markets will start to pop up here and there over the next few weeks. Next week I'll be giving serious thought about how to decorate my house - it's been renovated all year, so this will be the first "proper" Christmas it will have had since I moved into it. I'm not one for those cheap foil gardlands or tinsel, but I do like a big tree with plenty of lights on it, surrounded by festive tealight holders. But what else to do?

The Christmas food is starting to appear in the shops - there's plenty of Stollen (sort of a marzipan bandy fruit cake thing), but what is this country's obsession with mincemeat?! It's OK in small doses, but a British Christmas seems to hang on to Christmas pudding, mince pies and fruit cake. I'm going to have to dig out some festive recipes for the raisinophobes such as myself. The only recipe I have so far is for sugar cookies! I'll hopefully find a killer liebkuchen recipe - a German spiced cake-ish cookie that gets coated in either chocolate or a sugar glaze.

And then there's the drink - I have a bit of a soft spot for spirits. Whoever invented Mint Choc Baileys deserves a knighthood - not sure about the appeal of the new Hazelnut Baileys that's just been launched. For the tea-totallers, the coffee shops have started doing Gingerbread Lattes, plus various twists on eggnog and hot chocolate - I'm quite looking forward to trying those the next time I'm in town.

It may be 50 days away, and a horrendously large cliche, but the Holidays Are Coming...

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Littlewoods have a bit of a grower...

This is warming on me and gets better on each viewing - traditional without being cheesey...

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Thinking about Christmas Trees...

... and I cannot decide if this is the tackiest or greatest Christmas tree ornament ever...

And taking of Pacman and Christmas trees...

One for the kids - Santa has a blog!

And it looks quite established, going for a few years giving news from the North Pole before giving a running commentary on the big night. Cute - take a look...

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Could this be the new Coca-Cola ad?

Rumours are that this will be shown from mid-December, with last year's trucks ad being shown from mid-November.

It's cute and imaginative - and hooked me in with the snowglobes! We'll see if it gets to Britain...

Hobbycraft recycle last year's ad

And the next wave keeps on coming. I say new - Hobbycraft had the same ad last year - but this still stands up on its own quite well, and gets bonus points for using "Christmas Wrapping" as the background music.

At this rate, the mid-November wave must be either tiny or massive, depending on how you look at it all. Intriguing - at this time of tight purse strings, does the sales sector think we're going to be flexing our credit cards this Christmas?

Tesco makes their play...

...and it's a tad broad - a simple ad with a rip-off of Keeping Up Appearances, but it'll do.

Pringles plays a belter

It's seasonal, it's Christmassy, it has a vague hint of magic thanks to the Nutcracker Suite - it's a perfect festive advert!

The new Marks and Spencer advert is out...

...and it's not entirely festive. Peter Kay plus the M&S regulars dancing to the Bee Gees in various styles. It's well shot and edited, but aside from a load of Santas at the end, it seems out of place. Hmmm. I prefer the Take That and Shirley Bassey ads.