As Santa is to kids, so is the John Lewis Christmas ad to the creative community. And once again it has slid down the collective chimney and landed with an emotional, animal-related thud.
Featuring a song by Tom Odell, the spot was created by Adam&Eve/DDB and it tells the tale of a boy and his penguin friend Monty, who starts yearning for a friend. And guess what he gets for Christmas? In addition to the £1 million production budget, it's investing another £6 million on media. And, if it's like its past efforts, it will probably all be worth it, because, as the the IPA clip below shows, the ads have been proven to lift Christmas sales (although cynics might wonder whether the fact that it's Christmas lifts sales all by itself).
There are also many other aspects to the campaign aside from the big televisual heart-string tugger. As it says on Business Insider: "In-store, John Lewis has created 'Monty’s Den.' The department store has partnered with Samsung using a series of 'technology firsts' such as 'Monty’s Magical Toy Machine', which will enable children to take their favourite toys in-store and bring them to life using Microsoft 'photogrammery' tech that creates a moving 3D image, and 'Monty’s Goggles' which use Google Cardboard to give kids a 360-degree tour of a virtual Sam and Monty world."
All stores will feature penguins in their displays and there's also a host of penguin-related merchandise for sale (showing the popularity of the ad, last year's characters Hare & Bare sold out by November).And, in what could be seen as a mark of success, there's already a spoof.
Not bad John Lewis, but we prefer our Christmas ads a bit shoutier and with more mentions of the words 'massive', 'sale' and 'half-price'.