Christmas and adverts go together like sage and onion, carrot and swede, wine and mince pies. But what does this year’s raft of festive offerings mean to the actual children to whom the magic of Christmas supposedly belongs? We visited Shoreditch Park Primary in east London to ask a group of Year 4 children just what they make of this year’s Christmas adverts.
“I’ve not seen any Christmas adverts,” said Janer, “because on my tablet it’s very rare to see adverts, and Christmas adverts themselves are so rare. They never come up.”
“I’ve only seen one that was two years old,” said Alejandro. “It was this girl who had a talking tiger. I never knew what it was an advert for, but it was about a present, so it must have been about Christmas.”
In which Elton John sings us through his life, Benjamin Button-style, back to where it all began, one Christmas, at his first piano.
Bella: “Oh, him, he’s a pop star. He’s a famous pop star. He’s famous and he got a piano.”
Janer: “His name is John Lewis.”
Francis: “I think his name is Elton John Lewis. It says it on the hashtag.”
Alejandro: “It’s mind-blowing how many views it got. Other videos that get that many are trick-shot videos.”
Janer: “Roblox can get that many. That was made in 2006.”
Francis: “I think it’s about Christmas because Christmas is nearly here. But there wasn’t much Christmassy stuff in the advert. I suppose they showed him getting a Christmas present.”
Bella: “It’s just about how many memories that he had and what clothes you can get from John Lewis. That’s what he was wearing in the changes.”
Angel: “It’s about his childhood and how he became a pop star, but it starts at Christmas Day.”
Alejandro: “I like it because it made me remember people’s childhood. I liked the music because it was emotional.”
In which two parents hoof through this year’s John Lewis advert at double-speed in order to eat some stollen.
Bella: “I don’t like that video because Elton John Lewis would maybe get really angry and upset.”
Janer: “It was very mean on the little girl because she wanted them to watch it. The parents didn’t even care how the girl felt. All they cared about was skipping the advert and eating their food.”
Alejandro: “The parents didn’t even want to listen.”
Angel: “I don’t like the advert because I don’t like what the parents did.”
Francis: “They just wanted to try that new cake.”
In which the naughty Rang Tan seeks refuge from cruel humans who are destroying the orangutans’ habitat for palm oil.
Francis: “I think it’s very sad because the Rang Tan lost lots of its home.”
Bella: “I think it’s nothing to do with Christmas, because if you looked at that and I told you it was a Christmas advert you wouldn’t believe me.”
Angel: “I think that this has nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas, but it’s very sad because the orangutan came to the girl and the girl didn’t want to welcome it.”
Alejandro: “I think it was important, because if the advert wasn’t made, then we would ignore it and think making palm oil would be good. And then we wouldn’t have any orangutans and that might hurt our life cycle.”
In which a little girl performs a cover version of The New Radicals’ 1998 hit, You Get What You Give, at her school nativity while dressed as a star.
Angel: “I really, really liked that, because it's about a Christmas play and this girl who was really shy, and then she was really confident.”
Francis: “I think it's about Sainsbury's, because they're all about having a confident Christmas.”
Janer: “I think it was really sad because the music sounded very depressing.”
Alejandro: “It made me feel emotional. And that's a good a thing, because it makes me feel half-sad and half-happy.”
Angel: “I think it's to do with Sainsbury's because maybe they want more people to see that they're not just about food.”
Bella: “I think it was really amazing because it made you feel like Christmas wasn't just about the presents – it's also about being together and doing what Christmas makes you feel. When you watch that video, you feel like everyone should be together and be reunited and do what people do.”
Thank you, Shoreditch Park Primary School.