The TikTok Tearjerker: How Charlie's Bar Christmas Advert reinforces the social and cultural value of Pubs

The TikTok Tearjerker: How Charlie's Bar Christmas Advert reinforces the social and cultural value of Pubs

The TikTok Tearjerker: How Charlie's Bar Christmas Advert reinforces the social and cultural value of Pubs
By Abi Owers, Contributor, PubAid

28 November 2023

Move over M&S and John Lewis, there’s a new Christmas ad making waves, not for the retail space but for the voice of our wonderful pubs.

One small family-run pub in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, has managed to capture the hearts of millions across the UK and the world with a powerful TikTok video that delivers a heartfelt portrayal of profound impact that our community asset, the pub, has on our lives.

The heart-warming two minute TikTok video, tells a poignant story of isolation and companionship, beginning with a man standing alone at a graveside. He then wanders through the quiet streets of Enniskillen, seemingly unnoticed by passers-by, until he finds himself in Charlie's Bar. It's there that the real magic happens as Missy the dog seeks him out, followed by a warm-hearted couple who invite the man to share a drink with them.

The video concludes with a poignant quote from the poet W.B. Yeats: "There are no strangers here, only friends you haven't yet met."

The choice of soundtrack for the video features "People Help the People" by Birdy, adding an emotional depth to the storytelling.

Una Burns, the pub manager who conceived the idea for the video, expressed her feelings about the overwhelming response it has received: "We wanted people to feel something when they watch this video and get across the idea that, unfortunately, Christmas isn't as positive and joyful for some as it is for others and we probably see that more than others at this time of year."

The emotional impact of the video has extended far beyond the confines of social media. Even John Lewis acknowledged the advert on TikTok, commenting, "We're not crying, you are."

The success of Charlie's Bar's Christmas advert highlights the enduring significance of pubs in our society. Colin Neill, the chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, which represents pubs in Northern Ireland, noted that the video captures an important aspect of pub culture. He emphasised that pubs continue to serve as a sanctuary for many, especially during the festive season. They provide a safe space for people to come together, share stories and find solace in the company of others.

Colin Neill, the chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, aptly stated, "The video's underlying message highlights the central role of the local pub in our society." In a world dominated by virtual interactions, pubs remain sanctuaries where people come together, open up and share life with others over a pint.

The heart-warming story of Charlie's Bar underscores the vital role that pubs play in fostering connections, combating loneliness and creating a sense of belonging. Pubs are more than just places to enjoy a drink; they are places where memories are made, where friendships are formed and where, as this Christmas advert beautifully portrays, no one is ever truly alone.

As we enter the festive season, let's remember the unique and enduring significance of our local pubs. They are not just businesses; they are integral parts of our communities, providing warmth, comfort and companionship, especially when it's needed most.

If you have yet to watch the video – you can see it here.

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