The deeply ritualized beings that we are is never more apparent than at Christmas; the tree decorating, the gift giving, the carol singing, the meal prepping and its feasting-are all standard rituals long featured in advertising. Yet there also exists the private variant of these rituals, the ones every family develops: the things that we do in a certain way because it expresses how we feel about ourselves and reassures us that, yes, we’re still in control of our lives.
By Kate Humphries
These private moments are usually not the ones seen in the glossy, fantasy of Christmas that ads become when November cunningly disguised as December looms. Yet a hunger for the real, sharpened by a steady diet of YouTube has now, at long last, seen these private rituals invade the glossy overproduced perfect family ad-Christmas that alienates as many as it seduces. Sainsbury’s, a British supermarket chain, has this year put out something that’s more than ad, a 50-minute film in fact, launched as a 3.5-minute trailer.
It’s the result of Oscar winning director Kevin Macdonald giving the camera to ordinary people to film their 2012 Christmas and, from over 360 hours of footage,deftly cutting together a celebration of those private Christmases featuring plenty of bad haircuts and even worse wallpaper. It has hit a big chord because it resonates in a way that goes well beyond the glossy perfect, deeply sentimentalized, how-can-we-ever-live-up-to–it idealized Christmas fare that we are usually fed. It even features; rather poignantly a somewhat buttoned-up single householder sitting down to his perfectly timed Christmas lunch all by himself. As Tim Nudd from Adweek put it, “it reminds you just how much crowdsourced footage, in the right hands, can be very moving indeed”.
Which bring me onto a student project of ours at AdSchool that recently had every single Creative Director in town telling the students, Ellie Jones and Avani Man, to make sure they “get it made now”. Deceptively simple, it features exactly the same shift of focus, from framing the subject through professional eyes to framing it through their own eyes. The difference this time is those subjects are far removed from western supermarket shelves.
Ellie and Avani’s idea is for Getty Images to give people in developing nations the camera, so they can take authentic ‘see themselves through their own eyes’ photos which Getty will then sell, and give the the money back to the subjects of the photos. A beautifully simple, perfect gift an idea. So if you know someone, who knows someone at Getty, you know what to give them this Christmas- and whose names to put on the gift tag.
Disclaimer: This student project has no affiliation with the brand and the artwork on display is for educational purposes only.
Kate Humphries has spent 20 years working on top advertising accounts in London and is now the course leader of Media Design School’s prestigious AdSchool. The AdSchool is an awards-powerhouse operating in Auckland, New Zealand and Milan, Italy. It was named the 4th best AdSchool in the world by YoungGuns and no2 in social media accordnig to the Bees Awards in San Francisco. The school is also part of D&AD – one of the most highly regarded design and advertising industry bodies in the world.