David Kolbusz shares his big idea for how to fix Christmas advertising

I am not anti-Christmas ad. I am anti-bland, formulaic Christmas ad.

We are experiencing a creative renaissance in the British ad scene. As predicted, new voices are making great work across a variety of disciplines. 2019 should see more of the same. 

Now – let’s get on to the important shit. Every fourth quarter, we lose three months of great work to an onslaught of terrible Christmas ads that increasingly feel like they’re coming from the same central production studio. This is a punchy claim, but it seems like it’s the one thing holding our industry’s resurgence back. 

Let me be clear: I am not anti-Christmas ad. I am anti-bland, formulaic Christmas ad. This is why I am volunteering the services of Droga5 at a 10% discounted rate to any client who, in 2019, wants to make a Christmas ad featuring Krampus. 

Criminally underrepresented in yuletide advertising, this horned half-goat, half-demon from central European folklore acts as the counterpoint to Saint Nicholas, punishing children who have misbehaved. Look him up online. Sure, he’s poison for the eyes, but you can’t tell me this little scamp wouldn’t stand the fuck out in a cluttered seasonal landscape. 

Imagine Krampus in an all-singing, all-dancing department store extravaganza, modelling the latest in holiday fashions – tail coquettishly poking through a sequined frock as he harvests the souls of the dead. 

Or Krampus in an electronics or homewares ad, playing the role of the classic inept dad who can’t seem to get Christmas right. 

Maybe it’s even a heart-warming redemption story about a young child who matches her widowed father with her primary school teacher and narrowly avoids having Krampus flog her legs with a tied bundle of reeds. We just need to find the right song for Kate Nash to cover. 

This is all fresh in my mind because I’m writing to meet an early December deadline, but it seems absurd that the UK ad industry’s forward momentum gets parked at the doorstep of 1 November. 

Let’s change this together. The phone lines are open. 

David Kolbusz is chief creative officer at Droga5 London

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