06 December 2017

The BBC’s Festive Ad Didn’t Involve Religion, But It’s Still Awesome

“Okay so BBC One have just won Christmas advert of 2017.”

BBC One dropped their Christmas ad this week; an animated clip, called Christmas Together, that many people think topped the John Lewis ad. Focusing in on the fact that spending time with family is a central part of most people’s Christmas, it tells the story of a single-parent father who was so busy that he had no choice but to prioritise his work over his young daughter.

Taking work calls and doing paperwork, he brushes off her pleas for attention as she practices a dance for her school’s Christmas talent show. When it comes to the night of the performance the daughter is suffering from a severe bout of stage fright. But, in a heart-warming move, the heroic dad steps up and mirrors the routine at the back of the school hall. The demonstration of pure solidarity prompted the daughter to start performing.

As far as Christmas ads go, it was a moving one. Well, that’s what Twitter thought anyway; countless people tweeted saying that the clip left them in tears and that they thought it was the best festive ad this year. “BBC wins best Christmas advert of the year,” Twitter user Jessica Rolland wrote. Benjamin John added: “Okay so BBC One have just won Christmas advert of 2017.” Another said: “Honestly it’s too early for tears but the dad was awesome with his dance moves.”

Although, amongst the overwhelmingly positive feedback, a bit of negativity was peppered in. Some people criticised the ad because it had nothing to do with Christ, Christianity or church. One tweeter, known as John D, argued: “BBC Christmas advert released. VERY POLITICALLY CORRECT avoiding any Christianity (only a tree).”

This criticism really didn’t wash with some folks, however, who were quick to point out that for the majority of people Christmas doesn’t involve religion. And that’s true: Statistics reveal that “2.58 million attended a Christmas church service in 2016 and 2.54 million did in 2015”. Big numbers, but when you consider that the population of the UK is an estimated 65 million you can appreciate that going to church isn’t a part of Christmas for most people. In fact, church attendance has been in decline since the 60s and many churches are closing down due to this.

A recent study, published last month by the National Centre for Social Research, found that the majority of British people (53 percent) are not religious in any way – a figure that has risen by 5 percent since 2015 and 19 percent since 1983. It appears the church simply doesn’t wield the cultural clout that it once did.

Now, we can fairly blame the BBC for some things – cancelling Top Gear or continuing to send you letters despite the fact that you have paid your licence fee. But can we really blame them for not making an advert that would only appeal to a limited cross-section of society? They wanted to relate to as many people as possible across the nation. Given the fact that going to church on Christmas Day is a vanishing tradition and the biggest connotation involving Christmas these days is spending time with family, we think they did an alright job.

Featured image credit: BBC via YouTube  

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