A dad has taken on the big High Street retailers again with a budget Christmas advert but has divided opinion with the topic.
Piano shop owner Mark Goodwin used an anti-war message for his 1.39-second Yuletide commercial.
The 44-year-old used his two children Sally, 12, and nine-year-old Louis in the emotive ad.
Mark – who owns a piano shop Mark Goodwin Pianos in Oldham, Gtr Mancs – used a seven-metre-wide green screen.
Images and videos of the conflict were shown in the background and it ended with a missile strike landing in front of his children.
It is the fourth time Mark has created a shoestring Christmas advert.
He did it in 2019, 2020, and 2021 – with traditional yuletide themes – but had a break last year.
He said: “We normally make a feel-good Christmas video but this year, no optimistic ideas came to mind.
“All I could think about were the high numbers of children dying in the Israel/Gaza conflict so I felt that an anti-war message was the only choice this year.”
Mark added: “I knew very early on in the planning stages that we had to end the video without hope, without optimism, as I wanted to accurately reflect the reality of what is happening in Gaza.
“And when you see how the video ends, you’ll see that we tried to bring the impact of the conflict right into context of a happy and safe UK family.”
The total budget for the advert was £1,000.
The main expense was a new camera lens and a video stabilising gimbal to help keep the single-shot video smooth.
He also paid his kids £30 for their singing roles as it took 20 takes and he also treated them to McDonald’s and pizza during the long shoot.
John Lewis reportedly spends over £1million on its festive TV ads.
Mark, of Oldham, said: “People start asking about our Christmas video every year from about September onwards.
“And I’ve been worried about releasing this one.
“It’s obviously a very sensitive topic and I’ve tried hard to present it sensitively but also without shying away from the reality of war.”
About the missile strike directly into the piano showroom he added: “Without that scene, we are just singing a cover song.
“But with that scene included, the full impact of war is brought right into the viewer’s own world.”
But the advert has had a mixed response.
Carole Box said: “Oh my God, fantastic.
“Literally what happened to thousands of families sat just like that enjoying time together.”
Bethany Mears-Breeze said: “A timely reminder as we are in the holiday season that not everyone is having a joyful time.”
Jenny O’Shea added: “Thank you so much for a powerful message.”
Richard Hemmings joked: “I’d buy one of your woke pianos if I didn’t already have one.”
Yet Philip Turley said: “The world has gone mental.”
Another added: “I found it both poignant and disturbing.
“It’s a very confusing idea, but if it makes people think, then it’s not all bad.
“I’m not sure if you’re brave or foolish, but I’ve never seen a Christmas message in that form, I hope it gets the support I think you intend to get.”
One said: “Misjudged I’m afraid.
‘You sell terrific pianos But I don’t need your politics as a Christmas message.
“We are very aware of the awful situations around the world and spreading a bit of hope would have been more impactful.”
Another said: “Awful video. Stick to selling pianos.
“That’s all we need, a virtue signalling woke Northern retailer.
“Shame on you during this wonderful season.”