Tasteless ‘Badvent’ award mocks shop’s Advent calendar
A satirical Christian website has awarded its ‘Badvent Calendar’ award for 2014 to the Ann Summers store.
The retail outlet, which specialises in selling adult erotica, scooped the prize for creating an Advent calendar filled with images that were considered furthest away from the Christmas story, voted for by users of the webzine, www.shipoffools.com.
The online poll featured a range of themed products including whisky, heavy metal rock music, Star Wars, dogs and elephants.
“We started out with 30 calendars with minimal or no connection to the original Bethlehem narrative, and from that list we chose eight finalists,” said Ship of Fools’ editor Simon Jenkins.
“Our readers then voted for the one most likely to make the Baby Jesus cry.”
The top three Badvent Calendars 2014, as voted by Ship of Fools’ readers, in reverse order:
3rd – Barbie: described as ‘dependably vacuous with a new fashion accessory for every day of Advent’.
2nd – Ciate: ‘Each day offered a new one of 24 nail varnishes, including one that glows in the dark’.
1st – Ann Summers: The winner took home the prize for completely missing the point of Advent with a calendar ‘filled with chocolate body parts’. The calendar took more than 50 per cent of the vote.
Advent calendars have been around for 100 years at least, and have traditionally been a winning mixture of sweets, surprises and stories hidden behind images depicting the first Christmas.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said: “The commercialisation of these calendars does sadden me because they miss something deeply important about Advent and the Christmas story.”
Francis Goodwin of Christmas Starts with Christ, a Church campaign that aims to tackle the disappearance of Jesus from Christmas, said about the winning Badvent Calendar: “This is a perfect example of the famous HL Mencken quote: ‘No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public’.
“We wish Ms Summers and her followers a fun-filled Christmas, but hope they might spare a moment to remember whose coming we really await.”
Ship of Fools’ readers discovered just one calendar which tells the Christmas story, is filled with Fairtrade chocolate, and through which money is donated from every sale to charity: the Meaningful Chocolate Company’s Real Advent Calendar.
However, it faces tough competition in a crowded UK market, in which 10 million calendars are sold each year.
“We wanted to introduce a product which took people on a fun Advent journey, shared the Christmas story, was Fairtrade and charitable (our calendar profits will help equip a mum and baby clinic in Kenya),” said The Meaningful Chocolate Company’s David Marshall.
“People now have a choice when shopping at Tesco: do they want to share the values of Ken and Barbie, or Mary and Joseph?”
“Do they want to buy the cheapest chocolate calendar or buy Fairtrade and know growers get a fair price?
“Is the build up to Christmas all about profit or a time to be charitable?”, David asked.