The video: A new UNICEF-Sweden commercial is taking a swipe at Santa Claus. In the video (watch it below), Santa begins by laughing at his desk while he examines toys. Then he picks up a box filled with UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) medical supplies — malaria tablets, rehydration bags, polio vaccines — destined for an impoverished country. Santa scoffs: "All this stuff goes to poor kids, like in Africa?" Santa then looks at a gift card the United Nations relief organization sends to people when someone makes a donation in their name. "What am I supposed to say when I give this out? 'Here's a picture of the gift you never got?' Come on. I don't do poor countries." The ad concludes with the words, "we go where Santa doesn't."
The reaction: UNICEF's "war on Santa" is totally unfair, says Don Surber at the Charleston, W.V., Daily Mail. Depicting Santa Claus as an "elitist codger who doesn't 'do poor countries'" is an attack on Western culture. And remember, Western nations bankroll UNICEF, and our religious charities' Christmas-inspired donations are "a godsend throughout the Third World." Yes, the image of St. Nick as a crusty 1 percenter is pretty "brutal," says Tim Nudd at Adweek. But this is undeniably a "clever way" to remind people that poverty exists, and that some kids need health care more than toys. For them, the donations this ad brings "will be among the greatest gifts of the season." Watch the commercial for yourself:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
- Why Texas' abortion rates aren't falling as quickly as everyone expected
- Yes, Republicans can impeach President Obama
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why GOP reformers are bound to fail
- What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex
Subscribe to the Week