With a hefty £60m marketing budget being dangled by Disney like a diamond encrusted carrot, it’s clear why Boris Johnson has taken the unprecedented decision to turn on London’s West End Christmas lights earlier than ever.
Traditionalists, I’m sure, will be up in arms about the early switch on – up to nine days earlier than previous years – but if this means London’s economy gets a much needed boost by playing host to the world premiere of A Christmas Carol, surely Johnson can be excused.
Opinion however, appears to be torn with certain commentators suggesting it’s a rather sad state of affairs when a “venerable city becomes a marketing tool.”
The problem is, the West End lights are famous and have always featured their own distinct theme. This year though, they will follow the theme of A Christmas Carol, boasting Disney’s Scrooge related decorations from Leicester Square to Oxford Street, Regent Street and the city.
From a PR perspective this is an incredible coup; a total dream to dress a city head to toe in branding but this is Disney after all, who apparently gave London little choice as to when they switched the lights on saying: “It has to be the 3rd November as that is when the cast are going to be in London.”
With Jim Carrey and Colin Firth in town, at least this year, London won’t be stumping up public appearance fees for the likes of Kelly Brook.