‘Tis the season to be punting your goods with heartwarming adverts.
As is customary at this time of year, we’re seeing a slew of Christmas-themed adverts, and it was British retailer John Lewis that set the wheels in motion with the tale of ‘Excitable Edgar’.
That one was definitely a big-budget affair, with some estimates saying production cost around £7 million.
Fair enough, because it’s well made, but that thunder has now been stolen by Hafod Hardware, a tiny independent family-run hardware store in Rhayader, Wales.
The Guardian reports that the advert below cost “just £100 to make”, adding that “it blows John Lewis out of the water”.
Ouch, that’s gotta sting.
Let’s see what all the fuss is about:
As someone who is generally unmoved by these kinds of things (although that E.T. ad was quite touching), I’m not blown away, but praise has come from all corners of the internet, some of it a little barbed:
It’s been featured in the national media as an antidote to the aggressive willy-waving we see from brands at this time of year.
Which it is and it isn’t, in truth. While it’s impressive that the shop has only spent £100 on the ad – and that was to pay for an engineer to record the song on the soundtrack – it still manages to crib pretty heavily from the John Lewis playbook. There’s a kid. There’s a tree. There’s a slowed-down cover version of a well-loved song.
That jibe aside, the story of the family-owned hardware store, and those who feature in the advert, is worth a quick overview:
It has been open since 1895, fending off competition from bigger companies with every step; and it’s a true family shop, passed down through the generations. The grandfather in the advert is the nephew of the founder, the man at the end (his son) runs the shop with him and the little boy could feasibly grow up to run the shop after him.
Any old idiot can get a kid to sweep up a shop, but the magic of the ad is that it shows the real flesh and blood lineage of Hafod Hardware. It’s the beating heart of the community, and has been for years. No amount of money can buy that.
OK, even I’m a little moved by that.
The lesson to take home here is to #BeAKidThisChristmas – abandon your chores, fall asleep in restaurants and wake up in your bed with no idea how you got there, and eat until you feel physically ill.
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