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A Controversial Christmas Ad: Can Societal And Organisational Benefits Be Simultaneous?

My first post of December! It would be wrong not to have a Christmas twist to today's post. You might remember my blog about the John Lewis’ advert back in November and I explained how I felt a bit let down by the ad. However... I recently had the pleasure of watching a touching Christmas advert for The Danish postal service, Posen, which definitely didn’t disappoint.


Image from: YouTube


The advert titled “When Harry met Santa”, tells the story of Santa’s relationship with the mysterious “Harry”. They meet one magical Christmas eve and only reunite annually. After an anticipating (almost) 4 minute long ad, they finally admit their feelings for one another and share a kiss.

"Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is you."

A controversial twist on tradition? I personally think it is creative and current of the brand, and suitable to the audience of Denmark, a progressive country. The advert celebrates “50 years of being able to love whoever you want.” But some people did not agree, Posen experienced some serious backlash as people argued that it was “sexualising” Christmas.


Although there is contention about the advert questioning traditions, it could be argued that our perceived ‘traditional’ idea of Christmas is already shaped by marketing and PR professionals. You likely already know this, especially if you are in the industry, but Santa’s jacket used to be green! It was Coca Cola who decided to change it to red to match their brand image. Now red is the colour of Christmas.


I think Santa Claus is the perfect figurehead for the ‘love wins’ movement in the UK as he is a man known for being loving. The ad pronounces with no subtleties its profound support for the LGBTQ+ community, which is a great societal benefit. I do, however, question how genuine it is of Posen to use this narrative. Maybe it was used just to benefit their reputation, as they had a lot of support and I think they wanted to spark controversy to encourage publicity. I could be wrong, perhaps their efforts are genuinely for the benefit of society. Either way, there is a clear organisational win for Posen as they’ve gained media attention and engagement.


Is Christmas all about tradition? Should Santa ditch Mrs Claus, even if it is for the sake of publicity? If it helps prevent the marginalisation of the LGBTQ+ community, then who cares if the organisation benefits simultaneously? Therefore, I think in this instance, an organisation can definitely gain from being socially responsible. Let me know your thoughts.


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