Hmmmmm… They are using a war that killed millions of people, in order to sell chocolate… They are using the terrible tragedy of the first world war, and the incredibly beautiful and profound Christmas day peace, to increase their own profits… They are trying to connect which rich people receive our money, with our deepest longings for peace and humanity… But they do it so well!
Is there nothing that can’t be capitalised? Is nothing sacred! Well, no, not really. This is capitalism: The religion without any dogmas.
If the production costs are high, the only way it will ever happen is if its profitable in some way. Beautiful and tragic films are also made for the monies. The best modern architecture is for offices (offices!).
G.K. Chesterton understood the matter quite perfectly when he wrote,
‘But the improvement of advertisements is the degradation of artists. It is their degradation for this clear and vital reason: that the artist will work, not only to please the rich, but only to increase their riches; which is a considerable step lower. After all, it was as a human being that a pope took pleasure in a cartoon of Raphael or a prince took pleasure in a statuette of Cellini. The prince paid for the statuette; but he did not expect the statuette to pay him.’
-from Utopia of Usurers
The Sainsbury’s advert is beautiful and profound. Even the chocolate bar at the end, reminds us that it’s not just a chocolate bar. The right use of the most base material goods is for them to be used as more than material goods. It testifies beautifully, that our lowest material goods are destined to embody the highest spiritual goods. But here lies the real perversion of this advert: the advert itself, is using the most profound spiritual goods as just a tool, at the service of the very lowest material good: profit.
It is both beautiful and ugly. Its beauty lies in its lowliness and horror being exalted by love. Its ugliness lies in its glory being chopped down and processed into another product at the service of mammon.