Littlewoods Christmas advert slated across numerous online platforms for “killing the magic of Christmas”

Littlewoods Christmas advert slated across numerous online platforms for “killing the magic of Christmas”

The Littlewoods Christmas ad rolled out nationwide this month to a barrage of criticism, showing that too much emphasis on expensive gifts and 'receiving' in Christmas advertising sets a materialistic tone and drives viewers to feel pressurized, rather than encouraged to spend.

Retailers are increasingly under pressure to find new ways to stand out with their Christmas advertising. John Lewis, in particular, has received a great deal of media attention in recent weeks for its Christmas advert, “The Long Wait”, in which a young boy waits anxiously for Christmas Day so he can give his parents their gift. By contrast, Littlewoods’ Christmas advert features children in a nativity play rapping and singing about all the presents that their mums have bought.
The messages in both adverts have caused a stir online, but for very different reasons. Although the John Lewis advert has received a mixed response on YouTube, overall it has been very well received, due to its subtlety and emphasis on ‘giving’ and family. The Littlewoods advert, on the other hand, has received widespread criticism across all platforms and is being described as “sexist”, “materialistic” and “pure emotional blackmail”. Parents have gone so far as to say that the advert has crushed their children’s faith in Santa.  Several threads have been set up on the parenting site, Mumsnet, with many users calling for the advert to be banned.
The Littlewoods Christmas advert has been very poorly received in comparison to the John Lewis Christmas advert:
  • The Littlewoods Christmas advert drives hugely negative sentiment: Many complain that the advert is sexist, implying that only mothers contribute to present-buying, while other consumers say the advert tries to “manipulate” people to go on huge shopping sprees paid for by cheap credit
  • The John Lewis ad is generally well received: Despite some criticism, the majority of consumers like the “family” feel to the John Lewis advert and the subtle and “moving” message
  • Some users make explicit comparisons between the two adverts: They comment that they prefer the John Lewis advert, which “is actually about the spirit of a family Christmas, rather than promoting a load of expensive products”


 Consumers post their criticisms of the Littlewoods advert across a range of platforms:

  • The advert is criticised across a range of platforms: Many go to the Littlewoods Facebook page to voice their anger, while others criticize the YouTube video of the advert and post their complaints on threads set up on Mumsnet

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