Christmas is one of the most, if not the most, important event in any marketer’s year. Thanks to the absolutely genius marketing behind the brand, over the past decade the John Lewis team have managed to create such a sense of hype and enigma around the unveiling of their Christmas advert that the anticipation almost amasses that of Christmas itself!
Their signature style of an adorable - often fluffy - protagonist in an emotional plot twist accompanied by gutsy acoustic renditions of classic songs has captured the hearts of the nation year after year, cementing themselves as the kings of the Christmas advert. However, can their winning formula still resonate with an audience with such high expectations? Here’s our take on the John Lewis Christmas Advert offering for 2017, Moz the Monster.
Moz the Monster is an adorable yet giant monster which lives under a little boy’s bed. Though initially, the boy fears the monster under his bed, eventually Moz comes out to play at night and forms a friendship with the little boy. However, their evening activities leave the poor boy incredibly tired and struggling throughout the day. Moz notices the boy becoming increasingly tired throughout their evening play sessions. In the signature emotional hook, Moz leaves the child a night light under the Christmas tree, which means the little boy can sleep at night without worrying about monsters under the bed, and it’s Moz’s time to depart.
Was the competition too tough?
This year more than ever, it felt like John Lewis had to absolutely nail the delivery of their Christmas advert. Thanks to the stellar standard of John Lewis’s adverts from previous years, competing companies such as Debenhams and Marks and Spencers have had to up their game significantly.
The competition is strong this year. M&S brought out the big guns this year, working the adorable and much-loved animated Paddington Bear into their Christmas Advert, creating a heartwarming and humorous advert accompanied with plentiful merchandising opportunities. An undeniable hit for the retailer, and certainly a sting for John Lewis, who had a fuzzy and loveable creature of their own to try and fill Paddington’s boots.
Does it have the emotional factor?
Our main thoughts come from the fact that Moz the Monster didn’t quite manage to hit us in the proverbial feels this year, which is where the advert is really lacking by John Lewis’s standards. Their ‘Man on the Moon’ Christmas advert of 2015 was an emotional masterclass in advertising, raising awareness for the loneliness of the elderly and really tugging at the heartstrings. With snowmen, penguins and the bear and the hare as other featured characters in their past few Christmas adverts, there is one thing that undeniably categorises them all - they hit you right in the feelings. Whether they make you cry tears of joy, warm the cockles of your soul or simply touch you with a poignant message, John Lewis are renowned for resonating with their audience in a way, unlike any other brand.
Have we set the threshold too high?
The 2017 John Lewis Christmas advert is undeniably sweet, however, it’s pretty difficult to depict what the message actually is. The young boy is scared of the monster under his bed, which then becomes his friend, but then leaves him with a night light, just when their relationship was blossoming. The message is there, but it’s slightly muddled. Perhaps they’re trying to portray firstly that we needn’t fear the monsters under the bed, and secondly that Moz selflessly chooses to leave to allow his human friend to get a good night’s sleep. We’re used to being metaphorically punched in the face with a simple yet emotional message from John Lewis, and this advert, whilst lovely, doesn’t quite convey a strong marketing message.
Have we gotten so used to phenomenal advertising from John Lewis that we’ve set the threshold too high? Very possibly. Is their age-old formula beginning to look a little tired? This is also possible. Moz the Monster is undeniably an expertly-crafted advert with gorgeous cinematography, but it’s just shy of the usual Christmas offering from John Lewis that we’ve been spoiled with in recent years.
Whilst it’s undeniable this 7million pound advertising campaign is enjoyable to watch, we can’t help but think that it isn’t quite their best. Here’s hoping that 2018’s Christmas offering from John Lewis is fresh, innovative, festive and jam-packed full of emotion, allowing them to reclaim their position at the top.
Watch the full #MozTheMonster in full.