The Beverly Center

This campaign embodies a shrewd insight about the people on your holiday-gift list: They may be your nearest and dearest the rest of the year, but right now they’re the enemy. They’re the ones who wreck your peace of mind in December; they’re the ones whose finicky tastes (or already over-stocked closets) annually defeat your efforts to please them. Another ad in this shopping center’s campaign commiserates with your quest to “satisfy every trendy, judgmental and superficial person you know.” The reader who lacks confidence in his gift-buying acumen will appreciate the assurance that he’s not the only person afflicted with this social disability. Having stated the problem in terms we’ll find so sympathetic, the campaign predisposes us to see Beverly Center’s 130-plus stores as the solution. Can we be sure the people on our lists will love the presents we find for them there? Maybe not, but if they aren’t delighted, we can feel sure it’s their fault, not ours. What more could one ask of the holidays?