A quaint car hauls a Christmas tree through a quaint town. A girl twirls around in a forest, catching snowflakes in her mouth. A flock of red birds land on a tall fir tree. Standing atop a ladder, a man and woman decorate the town hall and then kiss. These and other Christmasy images make this an exceptionally eye-pleasing campaign. The voiceover adds to the good cheer. “When the destination is a place called Perfect, everyone makes it home for the holidays,” we’re told in one spot. In Perfect, “everyone’s nice, even when Santa isn’t looking.” Another spot extols Perfect as an Eden where “the only thing exchanged after the holidays are thank-you notes.” But then, each spot breaks the spell by conceding: “Of course, we don’t live anywhere near Perfect, so there’s Walgreens, with everything needed for the holidays.” The tagline: “That’s life. This is Walgreens.” True enough, but what a comedown after the idyllic scenes that precede this conclusion! If the spot said we live in an imperfect world and then said Walgreens can help us cope with it, we might see that brand as our ally. By showing such a beautiful world first and then saying we don’t inhabit it, Walgreens instead makes itself the bearer of bad tidings. Likewise, while the Walgreens store shown at the end of each spot is no uglier than other stores in our imperfect world, it’s by far the least visually pleasing element in this otherwise lovely campaign. Isn’t that a problem?
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