A controversial Christmas commercial released by Russia’s Moskovskiy Kreditniy Bank (MKB) is giving viewers the chills this festive season, depicting the abduction and torture of a neglectful mother by a vexed Russian Santa Claus.
The five-minute ad, apparently aimed to illustrate the lender’s slogan “It’s time to think about what’s most important”, tells a story about a business woman who is so distracted by work that she traumatises her seven-year-old daughter. The girl writes a letter to “Ded Moroz”, or Grandfather Frost, asking him to “bring back” her mother.
He’s on it right away: After observing the mother’s preoccupation with her business lifestyle on a bank of distinctly KGB-esque surveillance screens, Ded Moroz then kidnaps her and takes her on a torturous journey in the wilds of Russia, pulling her across lakes, rivers and snowy mountains by a rope tied around her waist.
Eventually he relents, cuts her free and feeds her by a fire before having what appears to be a heart attack, but not before passing the mother the letter he received from the daughter, precipitating a flood of remorseful tears and a joyous reunion.
While the Moscow Times newspaper asked whether his might be the “creepiest Christmas ad of all time”, some Russian women were outraged by the commercial, slamming it as an attack on working mothers.
“The first thing the authors of this clip tell us is that a successful woman cannot be a good person,” Russian feminist Anastasia Karimova was quoted as saying by Cosmopolitan Russia. “We have one question: where is the father?”
“Where did you find that a working woman is a bad mother?" Alena Popova, the co-founder of StartUpWomen, a networking website for female professionals, said on her Facebook account. "Where are those statistics from? Russia is a country of working mothers.”