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Movie Mom

Is anyone as bothered by the Target Christmas commercials as I am?

They have a series of commercials reflecting tighter economic times by emphasizing their low prices. Great, I’m on board with that. But these commercials would be sour and tawdry at any time of year and seem even less so at a time that is supposed to be about generosity and family closeness. The theme of these commercials is that someone is unhappy with a gift because he or she thinks it cost too much and so feels uncomfortable and unworthy. Take a look at this thoroughly un-charming family tableau:

This is very unusual; typically, a commercial is a 30-second story with a happy ending. Someone gets good advice on a laundry detergent or insurance policy and is grateful — a bonding experience in half a minute. Christmas commercials usually show people thrilled to receive wonderful gifts that perfectly communicate connection and intimacy. Target’s commercials, though intended to be humorous, leave the characters feeling awkward and estranged, and I suspect the audiences as well. They certainly leave me wanting to stay as far away as possible from Target and promote the idea that bargains lead to bad feelings, not good ones.

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