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Did This Holiday Ad Go Too Far? Some of You Said 'Yes'

This commercial drew strong reactions, pro and con

By Josh Walker

On Friday, we wrote about a nearly two-minute German holiday commercial that generated a lot of attention, and a bit of controversy, around the world.

In the TV spot, an older man takes a drastic step to ensure his whole family will make it home for the holidays, no matter what. (Haven't seen the commercial we're talking about? Scroll to the bottom of this post to watch it.)

We asked Next Avenue readers what you thought — was the commercial fair, or did it take things a little too far — and about 87 percent of you said the commercial was fair. On Facebook, we also received more than 250 responses about the ad. Below are a selection of some of the most interesting, personal, and insightful comments (edited for length and clarity in some instances):

"This is a brilliant message. If everyone in a far-flung, large family cannot come to Grandpa, why in the world don't they make it possible for him to join at least some of them, wherever they are?" — Holly H.

"Don't wait. Tomorrow is never promised." — Penny L.

"Life took me 2,000 miles from my parents. Twenty years after their deaths, my heart aches for the time spent apart. Now, separated from my own children by their life obligations, I do not choose to lay guilt on the children whom I love. When we can, we're together. This commercial makes us think, yet it judges. I choose not to judge." — Katherine R.

"Cool ad. But some people do want to be alone. Solitude is not an illness, simply a preference."  — Tonia C.

"If this changes even a few people it is a success. Having been a caregiver, and worked with the elderly for many years, it's heartbreaking that so many folks have been abandoned by their children." — Patricia P.

"Quite frankly, I think my family would be very upset if something like this was done." —Julie M.

"In the last years of my mom's life, she moved in with us. Our family was her world. She was in no shape physically or emotionally to engage with other seniors in my area. We kept her close as long as we could. I don't regret a day, although some were tough with two growing teenagers. I quit my job to care for her, which upset me. But ultimately, it was the right thing for all of us. I empathize with the story here." — Lisa W.

"Perhaps it goes a bit far, but it sends a message: We shouldn't take relationships for granted. Life is precious, life is short." —Pamela W.

"Maybe the kids don't want to visit because he is the kind of father that thinks this is a good idea." — Martha G.

"The bottom line? Take the time to connect with family." — John S.

"Why wallow in sadness if your adult children make no time for you? Instead of being sad and miserable year after year, get off your duff and do something for someone else." — Susan S.

"Not all seniors can get off their duffs, as someone mentioned, to get out and make friends or socialize. Depression sets in and they sit and look at four walls all day and night. Make time for your loved ones while they are on earth." — Debbie A.


"It speaks to a real-life problem. As a grief counselor, I never hear the bereaved say, 'I am so sad that I spent so much time with my loved one.' I often hear through tears, 'I wish I had spent more time with him/her.'" — Bonnie R.

"I spent my mom's final three years with her as much as possible. I retired so that I could give her more of my time. Her granddaughter, great-granddaughter, and I kept her going until she was 100. None of us regret that time or effort. My granddaughter was just four when she died, and she still talks about Granny, remembering baking cookies, coloring, and special events together." — Cynthia S.

"My mantra these days is this: 'If you can't find the time for a loved one, especially a parent who gave you life, you do not need to show up for the funeral.' End of story." — Helene B. 

"Sadly, the loneliness is realistic." —Lynn C.

"He lied to his children and caused them emotional pain for his own selfish purpose. I think this is a horrible example for people." — Sue B.

"The only present of value is your presence. Don't imagine you have any excuse for prioritizing precious time, unless you are prepared to live the rest of your life with regrets." — Tracy N.

"I am 75 and will be alone this holiday. I think this is a fine commercial. Didn't take it far enough." — Sally W.

"Too far? I think not. In fact, it's just right." — Kevin P.

In case you missed it, here's the Christmas ad everyone above is talking about:

Josh Walker is the former social media manager at Next Avenue. Read More
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