Share My Outrage: Using The Kinks’ ‘Father Christmas’ to Sell Stuff

You’re familiar with the song “Father Christmas” by The Kinks, yes? Of course you are. It’s a disturbing song about poor kids mugging someone with asking for money and a job for his dad. You know all those kinds of things we like to ignore at Christmas.

So what kind of jerkwads would use the song about poor kids at Christmas to sell Chromebooks at Christmas? I guess that would be Google. Now, I am someone who has pretty much sold my soul to Google. Well, 1/3 of it at least. The other 2/3 belong to Apple and Amazon. Whatever. And I’m over rock & roll songs I love being used in commercials. I get it. It’s hard to make a buck these days and if Passion Pit wants to take Taco Bell’s money in exchange for using “Take a Walk” to sell Doritos tacos, good for them.

But really? This song. THIS SONG? This song is actively against what you are trying to do. . . sell shit for Christmas.

Amy, one of my Twitter pals, thought perhaps this was just a case of a stupid ad agency not listening to the lyrics of the song. But if you want the video you can hear very clearly that at the very end, the song doesn’t sound quite right. Why is that? Because they edited out the line “save all the toys for the little rich boys.”

The outrage burns bright & strong this morning. Also, Google should get their money back from the ad agency who thought this one was a good idea (but just for this one commercial, usually the Google ads are pretty great, says the woman who watches commercials like they are the entertainment).

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  1. Matthew Baiocchi 12.Dec.12 at 1:16 pm

    Woooeeee! I think it’s something like your Twitter pal was saying – remember back in the day when some politicians wanted to use Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” for their campaign – they *had* to have known the lyrics were the direct opposite of what they wanted from the song, but the song itself was too good and catchy to not use.

    Same thing here – the upbeat beat works great for watching people rip open Chromebooks. Remember Google’s unofficial motto? Don’t be evil.

    BTW, come on, with your name you *have* to be getting one of these (Chromebooks, not evil).

    1. Jodi 12.Dec.12 at 1:25 pm

      In the Republicans’ defense (I can’t believe I typed those words) they probably just know the chorus which is basically “I was Born in the USA.” The chorus of songs is what most people know.

      The chorus to “Father Christmas” is “Father Christmas give us some money, we ain’t got no time for your silly toys. . .” etc.

      I should totally get a Chromebook and I could carry it around in my Chrome bag (which I already have).

  2. Lori 13.Dec.12 at 11:06 pm

    I am willing to commit five bucks to the ‘Get Jodi a Chromebook’ fund. Who’s with me?

  3. Janice 14.Dec.12 at 7:12 pm

    I am just as outraged!!! Why aren’t more people? I googled (ok, yes, my soul also belongs to google) “Father Christmas Kinks Google” and yours was the only one of the top hits that addresses this.

    It is clear the ad execs knew what they were doing. In the end of one ad (it is really a bunch of slightly different cuts), they end with “Have yourself a merry little Christmas” and leave out the part about “remember the kids who got nothing, when you’re drinking down your wine.”


  4. Doug 15.Dec.12 at 2:09 am

    As a Kinks fan I am bothered that the song was allowed to be used (that some ad exec thought it worthy with blithe disregard to the tone is not surprising), although as a regular watcher of TV I am, alas, long since accustomed to this brutalization of songs.

    But I think this may both be a new low and potentially insidiously clever. It’s too long for a comment, so I wrote a whole post about it. In short, they may be banking on our outrage, because ultimately our critique gets people to not fast-forward through the ad.

    I worry they may be trying to make us annoyed.


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