Advertising must be a tricky thing during the Christmas shopping season. You’ve got to start hitting hard early. You want something catchy and memorable. But there’s all that darn political correctness to think about. “Christmas” or “Holidays”? Is a color scheme of red and green too Christmas-y? All white says winter, right? So I guess the Pac Sun store chain decided to avoid all of the over-thinking and just go for truth in advertising with its “Season’s Greedy” catch phrase. When I saw this store window at the mall the other day, I nearly swallowed my gum.
This is a store I basically ignore, but I understand that it is a favorite of kids and teens as young as 11 or 12. That’s not so far away from the age of writing letters to Santa. I guess Pac Sun wants to be sure to clear up any ambiguity about the real meaning of Christmas. They even include Santa in their displays. (If you look hard, you can see him in the background.)
So far, that’s the worst I’ve seen in terms of offensive advertising this year. In a not-so-far-behind second place is the Sears “Be the Santa” slogan. What does it mean? There’s no such thing as Santa, so if you want Christmas you have to do it yourself? Ho, ho. ho. I’m also not a fan of using Christmas carols with advertising jingle lyrics. The Overstock.com commercial with employees singing Overstock’s own version of “Jingle Bells” comes to mind: “O, o, o, the great big O; Overstock.com!” The only time in recent memory that this was successful was the Garmin GPS commercial: “Get-a, get-a , get-a, get-a Garmin” sung to “Carol of the Bells.” It’s nearly impossible to top that.
There is some good news when it comes to advertising, though. According to the National Retail Federation, the mention of Christmas is not so taboo this year. An official at the organization was quoted here: “We see the word Christmas being used much more this year than three or four years ago. The pendulum seems to have swung back.” So there are fewer “holiday trees” and “winter celebrations” this year. The idea that anyone would put up a decorated tree for any holiday other than Christmas is just silly, after all. It’s either a Christmas tree or just a random fir in your living room.
If I had my choice between the edgy “Season’s Greedy” and the ultimate PC ad showing people in winter hats and scarves carrying packages wrapped in brown paper with a green bow, I would have to go with the politically correct. At least with that option, I can read into it any holiday sentiment that makes me happy. “Season’s Greedy” just leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth and a strong desire to seek out a Salvation Army bell ringer. If only the mall had the guts to position a Toys for Tot donation site right next to that store window.