THE GRINCH WAS AN ADMAN

Because he stole Christmas. And turned it in to something called “THIS HOLIDAY SEASON.” He forces perky elves on us who get excited about shopping at an office supply store. He coerces us into buying things we can’t afford

“just in time for the Holiday Season” – like cars. He confuses and exhausts us with a shopping event the day after Christmas called Boxing Day. He has made media almost impossible to deal with by using endless Christmas-themed promotions and stock sound bites like

  • “Just in time for the holidays,”
  • Sleigh bells,
  • ho ho ho’s
  • And around here, most likely Toronto-produced references to a white Christmas, that never happens. To my children’s unwavering disappointment.

And! If you have kids, I suspect he foisted the concept of the even-up on us so that every kid who gets too much has a few siblings who get too much too

Yes the Grinch was an adman. Look we all know that advertising requires attention. That comes from being different, louder or bigger. Bigger means the most money. Louder is the most offensive. Different is almost used up. That is never more apparent than during the Yuletide. I think it”s a great time of year. Christmas is imagination”s best season. Kids believe in things. They have hope and lovely greed. Stories and legends are shared. More grandkids sit on more grandpa laps than any other time of year. But we”re all bored as hell with reindeer and elves and that big fat sellout in the red suit who”s been shilling everything from soft drinks to sex toys since advertising was invented. Howard Gossage, the Second World War fighter pilot and 1960″s adman known as the Socrates

of San Francisco famously said, “nobody reads ads, they read what interests them and sometimes that”s an ad.” Please heed this, especially now. It”s a beautiful season. Tell us about its legends and the traditions. Invent something new. Look at Coke, they tore up Santa”s endorsement contract and invented Polar Bears. They”re great. Or dig up a personal “this”ll make a good story some day” holiday disaster and turn it into a hilarious commercial. Join the carolers without shouting or pounding us on the head. Give us residents of Whoville that for Christmas.

Now just because it’s Christmas, I’ll double up on the cranky with a reprise of 2010’s rant on reforming this beloved season. Perhaps it’s too late for me but I’d like to suggest a trip to rehab for the beleaguered Christmas Spirit in 12-steps:

1) I don’t care if you’re religious or not (I think I fall into the latter category) and I really don’t care if you’re Christian, but let’s let Jesus back in. It’s his Birthday.

2) A total ban on the following phrases: Holiday Season, the Holiday’s, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, and anything that treats the word “Christmas” like an uncle that we don’t talk about.

3) Compulsory viewing of A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life.

4) No more fruitcake jokes. Eat it, drink the nog, kiss under the mistletoe, roast a chestnut.

5) Everyone must put on at least 3 pounds and be proud of it.

6) At least one genuine act of goodwill to a fellow human being without simply handing out money

7) Have someone over for dinner that needs a place, and have him or her back on his or her birthday.

8) Donate twice as many items to charity as you receive.

9) Freely and unapologetically distribute personal Christmas lists so that loved ones don’t hate you when they’re buying your presents.

10) Total and unwavering belief in Santa Clause (see point one)

11) Leave all baggage, egos, and bones needing picking and personal growth strategies at the door when attending family gatherings, office parties and events.

12) No advertising before December 15.

Finally I’d like to give a special Christmas hug to the fine people at BCAMA who actually let me spill out this rant live last week at their annual Christmas party. It’s amazing how few speaking opportunities are afforded such curmudgeons as myself.

Merry Christmas,

Love,

Rob

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