It's Christmas ad season and media pundits are falling over themselves to have a go, with shouty tweets like "Our correspondent watches them so you don't have to".
I'm a fan of the Christmas advert. Some of the biggest brands in the world come together to compete, superbowl style, to create adverts that entertain and inspire (and sell of course). In America, Superbowl ad spots are a huge deal and this is reflected in the creativity and finesse that goes into their creation. Here, the same talent and graft is met by sneery correspondents with words like "schmaltz". Not only was last year's John Lewis ad brilliantly conceived and put together, but it played a major part in launching the career of an artist who has been a pretty much permanent fixture throughout 2013.
In a way the media reaction to the Christmas ad season isn't surprising, journalists are as a rule, (and rightly so), fiercely independent so praising such obviously branded content and giving it free exposure would go against the grain, particularly given that these ads don't really do anything apart from entertain.
In my mind this is short sighted. As the media continues to fragment, the lines between branded content and journalism begin to blur and brands can become a key part of this new landscape. Journalistic training and more importantly journalistic resources aren't set up to create creative content for creative content's sake - this is where brands can and do pick up the slack.
All of this isn't about brands pushing sales messages thinly disguised as content, it's about brands realising their role as a creative force in the media environment and looking for the win-win situations. That's why Coke's virtual take-over of Christmas was so effective, it wasn't designed to sell Coke, just to make you feel Christmasy and as a result I spent my childhood Novembers waiting for the first Coke ad, it's also why waiters still apologise when they only have Pepsi.