By Olivia Buster ’20
Tesco, a multinational grocery chain with 6,809 stores around the world recently released a Christmas commercial as part of its ‘Everyone’s Welcome’ campaign; it depicts the different ways people celebrate Christmas, their main target audience being UK citizens. After the commercial’s release, it received both praise and criticism across social media.
The commercial showcases different families preparing a turkey dinner for the holiday season. In one scene, a Muslim family greets each other at the doorway of their house, Christmas decor spread out across the room.
Since its release, the commercial has received mixed reviews for it’s inclusion of a Muslim family.
Most criticism received by the commercial deals with the correct portrayal of which groups celebrate Christmas. According to an Arlingtonian survey of 171 students, 50.3 percent believed the commercial depicted the different types of ethnicities and cultures that celebrate Christmas correctly, while 49.7 percent believed it didn’t.
Sophomore Katie McKenzie celebrates Christmas and feels that Tesco could have intergrated Christianity into their commercial to recieve less negative criticism.
“If Christians were added to all the other groups of people represented, I think the commercial would have recieved less criticism from those who celebrate Christmas as a religous holiday and those who celebrate it in a secular way,” McKenzie said.
For senior Heba El-Hosseiny who is Muslim, the commercial wasn’t offensive but inaccurate.
“Muslims don’t really celebrate Christmas in the typical sense that Christians do. We don’t decorate our house, we don’t give presents, and we don’t have a whole Christmas dinner. We still celebrate it with our friends. We will go get dinner with friends, and we will dress up.”
Paul Miller of Promedia Video Productions has created commercials for multiple corporations and notices the techniques Tesco used in its commercial to appear more inclusive. “Sometimes it’s not even about being factual, it’s just what the marketing team thinks. I think in a perfect world where [people] wouldn’t judge by skin color or religion, we wouldn’t worry about exclusiveness, at least not in marketing. In marketing you need to consider who buys your product,” Miller said.
Miller also suspects that the increasing Muslim population in the UK contributed to Tesco’s inclusion of Muslims in its commercials. According to the Pew Research Center the Muslim population of the UK will triple in the next 30 years.
El-Hosseiny doesn’t think that Muslims should be removed from the commercial entirely but believes that a more accurate portrayal would be helpful.
“Maybe get more of a holiday season type of commercial. Christmas, New Year’s, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, celebrating all holidays rather than one specific holiday so that it is more inclusive.,” El-Hosseiny said.