It’s here: Meet Monty The Penguin!
For decades it wasn’t officially Christmas until a certain rosy-cheeked bearded old man ho-ho-ho-d his way on to our TV screens. Year after year the moment Coca Cola’s jolly Father Christmas pulled his sleigh full of fizzy goodness round the corner of a snowy street we immediately knew that the holiday season had begun. Christmas cynics moaning of festive delights being on sale too early no longer had a leg to stand on. It’s Christmas. Coca Cola Santa says so.
But in recent years something strange has happened; the magic of Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer and their bunch of reindeer buddies has slowly been replaced by the enchanting tales of snowmen in need of hats and gloves and unlikely friendships between bears and hares. Look for Santa now and you’ll find him weeping salty tears in to his Cola bottle for he no longer inaugurates Christmas, John Lewis does.
So hotly anticipated are the John Lewis Christmas adverts that there are glittering teaser trailers, and we’re told when we’ll first (finally!) be able to see them on TV, as if we shall make it an event. It’s a call to arms to gather the family around the hearth and provide mulled wine and a warm brew for granddad in celebration of this momentous occasion.
In reality instead of a hearth it’s a laptop screen, and family members are replaced by colleagues all clutching a polystyrene cup of coffee from the vending machine, but the sentiment’s still there. And indeed, this was the YCB team when this year’s festive heroes Sam (a human boy) and Monty (a penguin) flashed on to our screens. We will more than happily admit that we all, as if on cue, felt our cheeks moisten with tears as Sam protectively covered Monty’s eyes before revealing his present. It very sweetly illustrates the magical, impatient excitement that children, adults, and penguins alike feel on Christmas morning, hoping beyond hope that all efforts to make loved ones feel special will come to fruition. Yep, whether you like it or not, watching the John Lewis Christmas ad for the first time is a momentous occasion.
Following in the bewitching footsteps of Ellie Goulding and Lily Allen, this year Tom Odell’s dulcet tones sing of Real Love. Love, as this advert shows, is universal. Even a penguin cannot escape the innate desire and painful longing to be loved, to have someone to kiss (or perhaps peck) under the mistletoe. And love and laughter are, are they not, what Christmas is really about?
The John Lewis Christmas campaigns are probably the most consumerist campaigns out there: this is pure emotional blackmail people! Yet somehow they leave us feeling the complete opposite; we’re not being told to buy a certain product, we’re being told to buy in to an idea of kindness and togetherness. Think about it, in reality watching Sam and Monty’s relationship unfurl before your eyes doesn’t cause you to immediately throw down whatever you were doing and wade through a torrential winter storm to reach the nearest John Lewis because you simply must buy a bauble and a gift wrapped set of toiletries. It does, however, melt your heart and leave you wanting to show the people you care about just how much they mean to you. And if that means buying them a bauble and a gift wrapped set of toiletries, so be it.
Which of the seven John Lewis ads is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!