By Professor Andrew Kulman, School of Visual Communication

If I might be allowed to put the divine birth to one side, here in advertising land we’re eagerly anticipating the new batch of seasonal ads.

How, we ask, might the retailer John Lewis better their Christmas offering from last year? Will a digital penguin usurp the animated ‘Bear and the Hare’ and how savvy will M&S prove? And that’s before we even get on to THE televised advert that heralds in the ‘season to be jolly’, Coca Cola.

When we hear the chorus, ‘holidays are coming, holidays are coming…’ we know for certain that the advent of Christmas is upon us or more correctly the Holiday Season. It’s that feel good factor that eludes us most of the year round. The ‘Ad men’ or rather ‘Madmen of Maddison Avenue’ knew a trick or two; they’re even credited for the red suited Santa that has been the symbol of Coca Cola since the 1930’s. If Coca Cola can appropriate a global figure and make it their own then everything Christmas is up for grabs!

More and more we rely on the forces of the advertising industry to decide how we should respond to the seasonal demands; we don’t just buy a turkey we wait to see if Heston or Jamie can convince us to purchase their fully endorsed variety. The John Lewis advert is bound to move us more than the infinitely repeated holiday film, ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ and billboards across the city will have shown us how we should look and respond to the latest must have toys or gadgets.

By 24 December all our senses will have undergone a sensory assault like no other. Let’s pause for a moment and ask ourselves ‘do we really have a better time as a result of all the adverts and propulsion to shop? We certainly owe it to our clever advertising companies to show us how to have a good time and if we follow their lead then the holiday season might just be sorted?

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Andrew Kulman

Andrew Kulman

Professor Andrew Kulman works in the School of Visual Communication at the University. An award winning Illustrator, writer and educator since 1987, he is also a graduate of the Royal College of Art. His teaching career began as a Visiting Tutor at University of Westminster, Kingston University and Brighton University. In 1997 he joined BCU, running Illustration, since then he has been Director of both Undergraduate and Postgraduate studies in Visual Communication and has been a Course Director on several MA courses in the School of Art, a position which has allowed him to work with a range of different disciplines. He was conferred as a Professor of Graphic Art in April 2006 following an application under the criterion of recognition in Practice and Industry.
Andrew Kulman

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