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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Why the new John Lewis advert is everything that’s wrong with modern Britain

So horribly triggering! Not least because, judging by the harmonious state of the place and those neatly plumped Jonelle cushions, the cleaner had obviously been in that very day.

Home insurance adverts are supposed to feature a doleful golden retriever with half a sofa in its jaws, or maybe a winsome baby dolloping handfuls of Sudacrem into the DVD player.

I’ll even accept the shocked-parents-returning-home-after-teenager-has-house-party scenario, because the mess looks worse than it is and there’s a rather touching hug from Mum at the end as Dad shrugs, smiles and picks up the phone to report the carriage clock breakage.

Householders like me – and I happen to have John Lewis insurance, which is possibly why I’m taking it all so seriously – want to be comforted with reassuringly low-fi catastrophes, not wilful destruction from a strutting little so-and-so Living his Best Life while his sister and mother are reduced to slack-jawed bystanders.

Sorry, son, oversized leopard-print heels are no excuse under law, and certainly not under domestic legislation in my house.

Look as a swathe of social media erupts. That’s transphobic!

Listen as another swathe responds. That’s not transphobic – see his aggressive display of toxic masculinity!

Hark, here’s another. How dare I judge this character? I don’t even know his/her/them/their pronouns!

Oh, and that quip about Ritalin. It’s no joking matter! In fact, it probably constitutes a hate crime. I ought to be reported, cancelled forthwith and with force. Whatever. Go troll somebody who gives a proverbial.

According to Claire Pointon, customer director at John Lewis, the thinking behind this magnum opus was as follows: “The ad playfully highlights the things that could happen as Reggie dances around, freely expressing himself, from knocked vases and picture frames, to paint on the carpet and nail varnish along the banisters.”

See what I mean? Aside from flinching at this vision of destruction, all this talk about “free expression” is terribly 2021.

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