Over the last 100 years or even a bit more, Christmas adverts have become, especially in the West, a true cultural phenomenon. Idealized versions of Christmas have run through the pages of magazines, billboards and everywhere else possible, shaping an image of a perfect – or at least seemingly perfect Christmas.
These ads are powerful due to their use of the classic Christmas red – mostly established by Coca Cola and showing people getting a little too excited about a certain product, may it be a blender or cigarettes.
A lot of times it’s about Santa Claus, who is the perfect ambassador for anything. If you really stop and think about it, Santa is actually the first infleuncer; he’s been doing it a lot before bloggers and fit instagrammers.
Vintage Christmas ads are great reflections of the way Christmas is celebrated: they mostly feature children looking at their gifts as they would look at a miracle and women relaxed and happy. Of course, since women spend 80% of the income of an average household, it comes only natural that these ads are mostly addressed to a female audience.
In certain aspects, these ads are little bit creepy in that the excitement portrayed in them is quite over the top. Maybe that is just an exaggeration though.
Today, it has become almost impossible to be able to separate the commercial aspect of Christmas from the spiritual aspect. And old Christmas ads, but also many newer ones are a great image of that. They are derived from and inspired by an old tradition, by a melancholia caused by a limited childhood perception (maybe as children we perceive things to be more over the top than they are) and mix it with our modern consumer desires and wants, as most people’s lives tend to revolve around the consuming aspect of living and around obtaining life worthy to be portrayed in an ad.
As it is often the case, one can find a lot of unexpected meaning in ephemera, as these ads go to show. Many of them look good, do their job, but also tell us a story about the society and culture in which they were created and consumed.
Fraquoh and Franchomme
P.S. We want to hear from you! What do you make of vintage Christmas ads? What is your ideal Christmas? What is your ideal Christmas gift, object-wise? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!