video_tv2.jpgQuality Food: Honestly Priced. It might be true (it might not be) but is it a zingy Chrimbo slogan? But then Waitrose in my years of watching TV, have never advertised on the box before. Part of the John Lewis Partnership (never knowingly undersold, though they often forget or are not super scrupulous in checking that they are undersold) they are the last of the old school retailers. The John Lewis department stores are belov’d of parents, though Waitrose as the spin-off supermarket always suffered a touch from a lack of coverage. There just weren’t that many of them. But of late there has been an expansion of stores, a subtle rebranding: shifting old fashioned middle classisms into a more modern organic, artisanal shopkeeper.

But to this Christmas advert which, truth be told, owes a touch to the Marks & Spencer food ads (M&S resurgence can be noted by their influence). “When your smiling” is banged out thirty jazz style in the background whilst honey warm middle-class lady tells us about all the nice food over pictures of the hard working covers who produce said food. Hooray for the Waitrose website then where you can see both ads: and they even let you download it for your iPod or PSP*! Not only that but the provide a handy transcript for us: here is the pudding and drinks one:

This Christmas, they’ve ranges of 68 boxes of chocolates including chocolate covered genuinely Turkish Turkish Delight… Over 600 champagnes and wines, including an award-winning Première Cuvée from as far away as Sussex… And 10 Christmas puddings, with one infused in amaretto. Welcome to Christmas at Waitrose; where the people who all own the supermarket want you to have the best of everything. Waitrose. Quality food, honestly priced.

Basically it is the Bertie Big-Bollocks school of advertising: look what we’ve got. One has to ask yourself if 68 boxes of chocolates is not overkill. And because of the voice with its subtle (M&S-esque) bragging, you tend to miss out on the subtle hints in the ad. The gag of a wine from Sussex (okay, the wry smile of a wine from Sussex). And the odd quip about “where all the people who own the supermarket want you to have the best of everything”. This may of course be having a go at Mr Morrison and his abortion** of a Gala Pie pictured below. But is also a reference to the John Lewis Partnership which is basically a co-op of its own staff. So it is somewhat let down by the fade to snow and the “Quality Food: Honestly Priced” tag.

It’s a nice try Waitrose, and welcome to the world of ads. But maybe a bit to subtle and underwhelming against the might of your diametric opposite at Iceland with Kerry Katona. But we’ll get on to her later.

*Why would anyone download an advert for their PSP? I mean except to use it as part of a multimedia piece on the commercialisation of Christmas in you Media Studies class that is?


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