Monday 23 September 2019

Rachel Dugan: 'John Lewis ad a cracker - if you're Elton'


Handout image issued by John Lewis & Partners of their 2018 Christmas advert, The Boy & The Piano, which stars Sir Elton John and his first hit Your Song. Photo: John Lewis & Partners/PA Wire
Handout image issued by John Lewis & Partners of their 2018 Christmas advert, The Boy & The Piano, which stars Sir Elton John and his first hit Your Song. Photo: John Lewis & Partners/PA Wire

Rachel Dugan

Maybe it was Brexit. Maybe it was its recent sales slump. Or perhaps a commercially minded Grinch has taken over the John Lewis marketing department. Whatever the reason, the UK retailer has replaced its annual feel-good festive television ad with an Elton John music video.

Gone are the pyjama-clad kids and the talking teddy bears. Gone is the trampoline-loving family dog. Instead, it has decided to roll back the Eltons with a stylish biopic that charts the crooner's rise to flamboyant stadium-filler. The scene where a young Elton gets his first piano is supposed to pull on our heart strings like a Christmas church bell-ringer hopped up on Red Bull. It doesn't. It should be warm and fuzzy, it feels commercial and cold.

The only person this ad will fill with festive cheer is Elton, who bagged the lion's share of the ad's £7m (€7.9m) budget as well as a tonne of pre-Christmas TV exposure. Happy Christmas, Elton.

Millennials board of being butt of our jokes

I've never been one to shy away from a little millennial-bashing. I enjoy making fun of their avocado lattes and those ridiculously dangerous fixed-gear bikes. I do, however, stay away from the really serious issues facing Gen Y.

Not so Hasbro, makers of Monopoly, who've just released a millennial version of their classic board game.

Monopoly is pure capitalism masquerading as good old family, fireside fun. It's all about buying property, accumulating assets and hostile takeovers. But millennials can't buy houses, so this new version of the board game has required a few, eh, tweaks to the rules (and basic premise).

Rather than adding to their property empire (fun), players now collect 'experiences', such as dining at a vegan restaurant or visiting a second-hand store (not fun). And forget rolling the dice to see who goes first, that honour is bestowed on the player with the most student debt.

The game has unsurprisingly proved divisive, with many taking to Twitter to vent their fury at this, the latest in a long line of jokes being made at the expense of an entire generation.

My issue, however, is that Hasbro has essentially made a game that sounds zero craic. It has torn the greedy capitalist heart out of Monopoly and replaced it with something that sounds about as much fun as, well, being a millennial in Ireland 2018. I just can't see the appeal for anyone to play this dull game. Surely Hasbro knows a good game is about having fun (not at your own expense) and escapism?

So millennials looking for a some family fun this Christmas should probably stick to the original game.

Won't someone please think of domestic pets?

The Brexit narrative, previously unfolding at the pace of a documentary on sloths, has been unfurling at the speed of a Marvel blockbuster since Wednesday.

A day earlier, an email dropped into a colleague's inbox. Amid all the concerns about trade deals and job losses, someone thought it was time we thought of Brexit's silent victims, our pets. Namely, the 54,029 who have applied for their own passports in the last two years. Whither pet travel in a post-Brexit landscape?

British pets could do worse than follow the lead (ba-doom!) of Pippa, the British pug who earlier this year opted to taken on Belgian 'citizenship' in the face of fears of a no-deal Brexit.

Irish ones planning on visiting Britain, however, may have to rethink their holiday plans.

Irish Independent

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