Smiths debate @ Manchester Cornerhouse on Thursday
Smiths debate @ Manchester Cornerhouse on Thursday

Smiths in TV ad debate
Smiths in TV ad debate

We are the last people to go about the insidious world of advertising, afterall we have poxy ads on this site. It’s the only way we can pay for all the costs. It’s the curse of modern times, no-one pays for anything so you have to do a deal with the devil.

Saying that we were a bit surprised to hear the Smiths, ‘Please, Let Me Get What I Want ‘, getting used on a TV advert for John Lewis. I’m not getting into all that sellout crap- afterall those Iggy adverts are actually quite entertaining.

The advert itself is one of those creepy, ’emotional rollercoaster’ xmas ads to tug the heart strings and open the wallet. The version of ‘Please, Let Me Get What I Want ‘ is very good, done as a plaintive ballad it really pulls out Morrissey’s genius lyrics and makes you remember what a great word writer he is.

Some Smiths fans, though, are less than happy. But are they right to feel this way?

“One of the very best, holiest of holy, heartbreakingly beautiful Smiths songs is being sold to John Lewis in order for them to flog their middle class tat,” complained one online fan who gave his name as Edd the Caricaturist.

“Please, Please ”¦ is our hymn about longing and unrequited love … No way on Earth should it be used to sell household goods or clothes. Shame on you Moz and Marr! Unforgivable. You’ve made an old fan very sad.”

Where do you stand on this?
On one level there is something interesting about the Smiths becoming that mainstream that they are part of the very fabric of UK life that they are in a major xmas ad… it’s the 21st century version of a hit single and they were always good at those.

On another level does doing an advert ruin a song? does it matter? the Fall and John Peel have been used by ads so why not the Smiths? Madness use their music in loads of ads and it causes no problems, I’ve even heard Morrissey’s favourite band the New York Dolls is an ad…

And aren’t we all part of this process?

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  1. One problem is not that a Smiths song is being used in an advert – it’s that the meaning of that song is being willfully misunderstood and misrepresented, as if they just went looking for a short song with the word “want” in the title and didn’t think any further. They’re like the people who ask for “I Will Always Love You” at their weddings, oblivious to the fact that it’s a break-up song. Halfwits, essentially.

    The other problem is that it’s about Christmas. Is there anything on the planet less Smithsy than Christmas?

  2. Interesting that John Lewis said the age of the average Smiths fan is 45 to 55 which fits right into the demographics of the John Lewis punter? “Has the world changed or have I?” I asked this question in my local the other night based on John Lewis findings of their demographics and perhaps the average Smiths fan now is a John Lewis customer? Perhaps seeking out different bands, clubs, bars and people using your savie and all that in our youth gave us a bit more foresight into life? Maybe asking more questions and challenging things perhaps these qualities are the things that companies look for in higher paid jobs later in life? Can you see where I am leading to with the John Lewis facts? Perhaps this should be a warning to our youth to discourage them from watching X factor and to be careful what you listen to, as it may well end up that your shopping in Pound Land when your fifty.

  3. haven’t we all been to weddings where the grandparents are dancing to the Membranes and Mudhoney? time changes things, we just need to roll with it.
    it should also be mentioned that JL is an employee owned store, a kind of posh co-op, so alles gut.

    someone suggested that the guys at were negotiating for the ‘There’s No One Quite Like Grandma’ over their e-book Christmas range – now that really would take the biscuit.

    and i loved John Peel’s voiceover – would that he were still here to sell us anything.


  4. Time and time again people read too much into stuff like this. GET A LIFE! The original is a brilliant brilliant song. The cover is a decent version and it suits the ad perfectly. That’s all that needs to be said.

  5. its not the first time that number has been used, remember the cover version in the film ferris buellers day off ? just hope the band are benefitting from it.

  6. Unless you’ve been moved by the ad enough to shop at John Lewis this Christmas when you otherwise wouldnt have, then the whole thing hasnt worked has it? I dont think ‘Oo British Gas use The Universal in their ads. If they’re good enough for Blur, they’re the Gas provider for me’, in fact I’m more likely to think ‘Fuck you British Gas if you think you can sweettalk me with a Blur song’.

    Morrisey and Marr wrote the song and they can do want they want with it. Just turn the ad off/down/over.


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