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Our Veterans are Forgotten Again – TV Bites


TV Bites


Our Veterans are Forgotten Again

by Neena Louise

Since I cancelled my cable, I’ve watched more of the Canadian networks available to me over-the-air than I once did (CTV, CBC). I write this the day before Veterans Day and, as was the case last year, come November 1st Canadian advertisers focused on Veterans Day (Remembrance Day in Canada) and there have been very few Christmas commercials. Although not as plentiful as in recent years, American holiday advertising started on what seems like a continuous loop on November 1 – some even on Halloween; some even earlier than that (Target mailed out their holiday flyer in October, for crying out loud). I was sick to death of them by the end of the first week.


Shortly after November 11, 2015, a Canadian veteran called the hawking of Christmas before Veterans Day disrespectful. Most veterans that were interviewed didn’t think it was disrespectful, saying they fought for the freedom of the people to be allowed to do whatever they wanted after all, but that it was simply too early. Somebody was listening and since 2016, Canadians have enjoyed mostly Christmas-free TV for the first 11 days of November.


The few that advertised before November 11th last year faced a scathing backlash. Tim Hortons (a coffee chain) started a contest to design the holiday cup before November 11. They got a huge reaction, but not the one they were hoping for: it blew up #tooearly. I have yet to see a Tim Hortons holiday ad this year. Most Canadian advertisers haven’t dared with their early Christmas Crap and have, instead, produced tasteful – at times moving – ads in remembrance of veterans.


That’s not to say there have been no Christmas ads on Canadian television, however. The biggest offender is Duracell with the Most Annoying Christmas Ad Ever that has aired multiple times a day since the first week of November. A telecommunications company is a very close second. Other than those two, however, I’ve only seen one or two ads. Once. I suspect the public immediately complained and they are now restraining themselves until after November 11.


It’s so nice not to be beaten over the head with Christmas the day after Halloween! Christmas comes too quickly every year and it was nice to have 11 fewer days of the constant reminder. Veterans Day rarely gets acknowledged as respectfully as it should in the zeal to push Christmas – almost to the point of being an afterthought. American advertisers should look to the north for inspiration. Our veterans don’t deserve to be forgotten once again – especially not for something like greedy retailers’ Christmas sales. Watching Canadian TV without the constant Christmas interruption, I gave our veterans more consideration than I have in a long time. Furthermore, I’ve been actively avoiding U.S. channels – preferring to watch ad-free shows online the next day – solely because of it. So much for their clever plan to start us shopping early.


Retailers insist this is what customers want. I don’t know what “customers” they’re talking to, but no one I have ever spoken to wants to start hearing bloody Christmas carols blaring everywhere on November 1st. One online retailer pointed out “Christmas” was the most-searched term in September, supposedly proving that’s what people want. I guess it never occurred to them that it was people trying to get ideas for items they’d make, not buy. I, too, start making gifts – or at least getting ideas for them – in September. Some of the things I make can take weeks (even months) to complete, so of course I’m going to start searching for ideas and/or patterns early. That doesn’t mean I start Christmas shopping then, however, nor even think about it other than whatever I’m going to make. Nor do I want to be hit over the head with it every single day for weeks on end. Idjits.




Surely the lack of ads for the first 11 days in November isn’t going ruin retailers’ Christmas revenue. They might even get more business by reminding us of the sacrifices our veterans made. It would be so easy, too: an ad showing veterans and what they did for our country with a simple, small retailer logo in the corner – something several Canadian retailers do. I know I would be much more likely to shop at such a retailer than one that starting hawking their Christmas goods the second Halloween was over, bypassing Veterans Day altogether.


The only thing that will stop rabid retailers from hawking Christmas before Veterans Day – annoying us all in the process – is a public backlash. Hint, hint.

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