It’s the age old gripe rolled out by the old or the grumpy. Christmas decorations going up in October (along with the water-level of children’s toy adverts slowly rising), Boxing Day Sale adverts saturating all of the commercial channels on Christmas day and Easter Eggs appearing in every shop and newsagents as if by magic a couple of months before the Easter bunny has even thought about leaving its burrow. Advertising (and ever earlier product stocking) has reached such truly epic levels of saturation for our special days and holidays that they now take up pretty much most of the year, but now it’s gone one step further.
Not content with their year-on-year creep, pushing products or Sales into early slots, one marketing department has gone thermonuclear and reached for the big guns – perhaps crossing the one unwritten rule that was left. They’ve decided to blatantly dismiss the very season or event their product is aimed at by declaring “we don’t care and neither should you, just buy this stuff.” Such is the latest advert for Malteasers®. The tagline for their Malteaser® filled chocolate bunny is the astoundingly brutal, up font and shameless “MaltEaster – why wait till Easter?”
On the surface, perhaps this is all fine and dandy. It’s all sugar and puns and whimsy and sweet. The advert, like all of their recent adverts (since the car going around the roundabout advert) is good, and contains the kind of warm, light humour that they have become recognised for. Like the Mellow Birds of chocolate – inoffensive, mild and well meaning, or so it seems. With this new advert there’s something lurking just under the surface and weirdly it’s hiding in plain sight. An Easter product, that’s being sold months and months before Easter (you can hear the oldies getting grumpy!) but with an advert telling people that it’s all ok, everything is fine, you don’t have to follow cultural traditions, you can eat your Easter chocolate in early January.
Maybe this is the beginning of a brave new world where advertising and seasonal products finally take control and stop all these silly consumers following the rules. Perhaps, they have finally worked out how to get us to buy stuff ALL of the time, guilt free with skip in our step and a smile on our face? Or maybe, just maybe this is the moment where we finally lost the plot and watched an advert for cheap chocolate lead us in a direction that finally strips aways the last few crumbs of humanity and leaves us all with a slightly bitter taste in our months? Christmas in January anyone?