I recoiled, as I watched the VISA 'Keep It Local This Christmas' advert for the fifth time. Sadly, following five viewings, it was no less incongruent. I was annoyed, in part, because the problem is so glaring, but mostly, because I had such high hopes for the campaign.
My interest in the ad was sparked via VISA's promoted tweet which announced, '.. our 2018 Christmas Ad featuring real shopkeepers'.
Well, given the fact I'm currently in the post-production phase of my own client ad campaign featuring unscripted retail transactions, I was immediately sold on the premise. I grabbed my tea. I hit play. I watched the ad. I liked the ad. I really liked it. Sadly, during some further reading. things soon unraveled.
According to the campaign copy, which proudly reveals itself after watching the video, 'This Christmas, we're celebrating our independent retailers, and wishing an extra special festive season for the unsung heroes on our High Streets across Britain.'
The words 'across Britain' jumped out at me like a slasher film baddie who didn't add enough cold water to his bath. You see, I soon realised that the entire ad [and the supporting micro clips] feature only London businesses - begging the question, "Sorry, what now?"
Understand, I have no issue with London, Christ no, it's one of my favourite places on earth, and it's been incredibly kind to me from a personal, professional and client perspective. However, assuming this ad wasn't conceived by a drowsy toddler, I don't understand how it was ever signed-off.
Imagine, for one second, how much more heart-warming, inclusive [and non-weird] this ad would've been if it also featured Ethel's Bakery in Edinburgh, or Barry's Butchers in Leeds or Rita's corner shop on Corrie, I don't care, just represent Britain, 'cause apparently, that's the objective here.
Naturally, I shared my displeasure with VISA. Their response was the stuff of comedy:
Brilliant. To which I replied,
... further adding,
To reiterate, this post isn't an attack on London, I adore London - in fact, given my recent TV & newspaper feature in the capital, I like London more than I like most of my friends. However, there's no denying that VISA's 2018 'Keep It Local This Christmas' ad is plain odd, and weirdly, given the disconnect between its message and execution, it appears to be having a massive row with itself - which is the most Christmas thing about it, frankly.
CK Goldiing, Founder of Icons & Machines