Did we get what we wanted for Christmas?



Ah, Christmas, the busiest time in the matriarch's year. We've already organised who's coming and ordered the blow-up mattresses (or booked a nearby AirBnB). The tree is up and the shopping list is written. And it's a big list. Who else is going to think about Auntie Karen, Cousin George and the pigs in blankets?


But we're next to invisible in this year's crop of Christmas ads.


Marks and Sparks have people jumping around to a track first released in 1992. But the only women who would have danced to the original release are a couple of white-haired models tucked away at the back. Anna Kendrick shares her favourite Fritolay things with hipsters - and her hip granny, but just for a nano second on the couch with her mum.


In the popular Argos ad, Dad gets the starring role for buying his daughter a drum kit! Good on ya dad, you're a hero (hope you're around for all the hours and hours of clattering and banging it takes to actually get good on it!)


My favourite ad this year is without a doubt Ikea, "If your house was a car it would be pulled over" certainly made me think about sprucing up mine for the season. But it bothered me that all the things that needed replacing looked like they belonged in an older person's house. And you know there's something out of kilter when grumpy old white guys and Black Twitter both complain that every couple in ads these days seem to have mixed race kids.


It's lazy diversity, but Kudos to the agencies who are trying to smash stereotypes. It's been a long time coming and there's a long way to go. Ageism, of course, is rife. In everyday ad breaks women disappear as young mothers and come back as worried old ladies looking for funeral insurance. At least at Christmastime she appears as a jolly old stick who's taken to the ball.


Yes, we know Christmas is all about the kids. And there are lots of lovely kid focussed ads with loving families and lovely young mums. But what about teenagers and their mums? You know, women in their mid-forties and fifties, or the sixty-year-olds whose kids are at uni or in their first jobs? And have you ever seen an auntie in a Christmas ad ever?


The only women over the age of 45 who were more than background extras in this year's Christmas assortment were: A stern middle-aged woman preaching from the pulpit and a cross mum reclaiming her fish slice for Boots. A white-haired supermodel for Debenhams and Carla Bruni for Burberry, who was the only fifty-something we could find without silver hair (but watched with fascination to see if her face actually moved).


Visa deserves a special mention for featuring a midlife woman doing something we're rarely seen doing in ads. Working. But the only Christmas ad that actually starred a midlife woman was the Walkers commercial featuring a 45-year-old.


Seriously? All we got for Christmas was Mariah Carey?



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