In yet another case of Parents Gone Wild, PayPal was on the receiving end of several complaints that their latest holiday-themed commercial “ruined” the Santa myth for children. The ad is so subtle and only barely gives the suggestion that Santa isn’t the one behind the Christmas magic, but that didn’t stop parents from losing their minds about it. Naturally.
PayPal ran the offending commercial in the United Kingdom, and it depicts a pair of brothers wondering when their parents are going to start coming home with bags of Christmas gifts for them. It ends with the boys seeing tons of presents under the tree on Christmas morning and a brief moment of the parents sitting on the couch using PayPal to shop online. Check it out and see what you think:
Pretty low-key ending, right? My daughter is eight and I highly doubt she would’ve picked up on the meaning of that last scene. A child old enough to make that sophisticated of a conclusion is probably also old enough to realize Santa isn’t real. The suggestion is obviously that the parents bought all the gifts, but it’s so subtle and brief I have trouble buying that any child young enough to still believe in Santa would’ve figured it out.
Not to mention, in most households, parents buy gifts too. It would’ve been easy to soothe any questioning children with the reminder that Mommy and Daddy buy some presents, along with Santa. Although I guess it’s preferable for some to be whiny and complain to an advertising watchdog group, as these parents did. That’s right. According to The Guardian, the Advertising Standards Authority received 233 complaints that the commercial is offensive and “ruining” Christmas.
Parents, can we please get over ourselves? Not only is this ad not at all a blatant take-down of Santa, even if it were, so what? There’s plenty of offensive material on television and in the media far more deserving of parental pearl-clutching. I have trouble understanding anyone getting upset over something this minor. As parents, it’s our job to impart the values and beliefs on our children that we find worthy. It’s not up to any company or entity to back up our version of things and as long as it’s not a huge banner ad running at the bottom of the TV saying “Santa Isn’t Real,” I don’t see any need to get worked up.
Someday, our children will know Santa isn’t real. Sure, it’s sad to contemplate and it would be nice if kids were able to find out in a gentle way and hopefully, getting that information from their parents. However, the world isn’t perfect. There are plenty of things on TV and the internet that could let the cat out of the bag far more easily than this commercial. These parents are angry over nothing.
In the end, PayPal did apologize and moved the ad to air only after 9:00 pm, but I’m annoyed they felt they had to in order to capitulate to a few overly sensitive parents. This is simply not a big deal. Let’s save our collective parental ire for things that really matter.