It's the Most Terrible Time of the Year: Offensive Holiday Ads Showdown!

image of screaming little girl in a Santa hat

If the incessant loop of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” playing at the grocery store hasn’t tipped you off yet, allow me: The holiday shopping season is upon us. And if you celebrate this time of year, this means you have approximately one month to buy everyone in your life a meaningful gift—and retailers won’t let you forget it. Hence, the holiday shoppings ads, which are now playing at a rate of approximately one thousand per minute. While some of these spots are kinda clever, others are downright terrible. That’s why were reprising an age-old Bitch blogs tradition, as timeless and hairy as Santa’s beard. It’s the Offensive Commercials Holiday Showdown! You know the rules: Four ads enter, one ad leaves. Watch these holiday commercials (if you can stomach them) and cast your vote for the worst yuletide offender.

Zales for Sex

Okay, at this point we all get the “subtle hints” embedded in your average holiday jewelry spot: Men should buy women diamonds and women should give men sex in return. Everyone is straight, and everyone plays by the rules. But leave it to Zales to hit us over the head with it. THOSE CLOTHES ON THE FLOOR MEAN SHE HAD SEX WITH HIM TO THANK HIM FOR THE DIAMOND YOU GUYS. Yeah, we get it.

Hallmark Mail Call

This commercial is not only annoying in its girly gifting (of COURSE the girl writing to Santa wants a tutu, a pink bike, and a princess doll) it also contains so many obnoxious Christmas tropes designed to tug on the heartstrings just to sell us some junk. Ho ho ho! Buy an expensive card instead of writing a letter and Santa will bring you pink crap you don’t need! Bah humbug.

Sexist Sears Baby

Silly dad, no woman would ever want a drill for Christmas! This ad does double duty by reinforcing gendered gift ideas and reminding us that dads are incompetent doofuses (even the baby knows she wants earrings, duh).

Morrisons Stressfest

Similar to this Asda ad, UK supermarket chain Morrisons went for some realism this season: Christmas can be expensive, stressful, and depressing. This commercial never lets up! The woman is beside herself with holiday despair. It might be refreshingly honest if it didn’t end by saying she “wouldn’t have it any other way.” If you’re a mom, Christmas SHOULD make you miserable! Now carve that turkey and quit complaining, Lady Grinch!

  • Zales. I’ll get sex without the online jewelry market, thanks.
  • Hallmark. Sorry Santa but I’d rather spend my card money on something less obnoxious this year.
  • Sears. Those baby jokes are almost as tired as the gifts they’re selling.
  • Morrisons. Maybe I don’t want to feel like shit this Christmas, m’kay?
  • Pass me the egg nog and wake me when the holidays are over.

Seen another holiday ad that deserves a spot in the showdown? Leave it in the comments, because with a month of shopping days left we just might have to do another round before it’s all over. Happy Holidays!

by Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

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9 Comments Have Been Posted


Ugh, Morrisons is the worst. The ultimate worst. All the rest, we've become immune to, but this is hijacking legitimate holiday-hatred and red-washing it into consumerist joy. The worst.

Why do you have that AWESOME

Why do you have that AWESOME Sears ad?? There are no sexist babies in it.

about that drill . . . .

For the last several years it has been my habit to buy myself a tool of some kind at the holidays, since so many of them are on sale. Last year I bought a nice screwdriver set that included both ratchet and non-ratchet screwdrivers with lots of different heads; some of the screwdrivers were magnetic (a wonderfully useful feature).

I've been trying to decide between a power drill--which I do not own at all--or a new hammer. I could use a slightly heavier one than the one I have.

I'm leaning toward the drill now, lol.

Hard to choose between Zales and Sears

Hard to choose between Zales and Sears, but ultimately I chose Sears just because he felt the need to comment on those women's appearances totally unnecessarily while looking for the baby. WHY, oh, WHY. There wasn't even a full montage of action that supported that awkward moment.

I think the Sears ad is the

I think the Sears ad is the very worst. Not only because of the stupid overacting, poorly-attempted comedy, and blatant gender stereotypes, but hello Adam Walsh? A father loses his child at a Sears store?

little boy lost in sears store

i was shocked at the Sears commercial where the little boy is lost in their store- having a grand time while his dad gleefully looks for him. I honestly wanted to throw up and couldl not believe my eyes.

I thought of Adam Walsh right away.
surely someone at Sears thought about Adam & the Walsh family, but they went ahead and aired it anyway.

For that, they get no 2nd chances with me. I will NEVER do any business with Sears ever again.

With all the hard work John Walsh puts in to save lives in America, I am so ashamed that Sears would do this.
Is the ad company and sears so brainless that they couldnt think of ANY other way to advertise their store than to practically mimic Adam's story (minus the happy ending of course)?!! Not to mention children are still very much abducted everyday in our country. Whats next- a gleeful drunk driving ad by Belvedere vodka? oh thats right, their focus is on women being raped right now. but you get my point.

In loving memory & honor of Adam Walsh. You will never be forgotten!!

Me too!

I thought the something. THat commerical is a very distasteful and should be removed. DO you know how we can officially complain?

i totally agree :P

i totally agree :P

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