8 Things We’ve Learned from the John Lewis Christmas Ad

AUK News Creative
Christmas retail advertising

by Zane Radcliffe, Creative Director at AgencyUK

It’s big, it’s bold and it’s trending. But what can we really learn from the Man on the Moon?

 1. Almost any song in the entire history of rock can reduce unsuspecting consumers to tears by simply employing a helium-voiced female singer to warble coyly over a whimsical, semi-acoustic cover version. Next year, we expect the John Lewis blockbuster to be soundtracked by Lorde reworking Napalm Death’s ‘Scum’.

2. The scenario featuring an old man who has set up home on the moon is clearly faked. Look at the shadows. They’re all over the place.

3. Christmas has, again, arrived too early. This might explain the storyline that unfolds in the ad. The little girl’s parents have panic-bought a Brandy Butter King Prawn Ring in October, one that was well past its sell by date on Christmas Day. Once ingested by the daughter, her body temperature rocketed to 40 degrees, conjuring wild hallucinations of moon-dwelling octogenarians.

4. The ad forces us to muse on the comparative insignificance of our human existence in a vast an infinite cosmos. Apparently, if you stand on the Great Wall of China, you can see the moon.

5. If John Lewis would only find it in their hearts to sell crossbows to children, the young girl wouldn’t have had to manufacture some primitive, Huckleberry Finn version from a stick and a length of twine. And their New Product Development team can have that one for free.

6. A serious theme underpins this year’s Christmas campaign. John Lewis should be applauded for raising awareness of a social issue that blights this festive season for many. And that is the scourge of the peeping Tom. Because nothing says Christmas like a strange old man using a telescope to peep through the bedroom window of a young girl, whose parents – presumably – remain blissfully unaware of the inter-planetary ‘grooming’ of their daughter going on upstairs.

7. Within two hours of the ad breaking, John Lewis had sold out of telescopes. This confirms that consumers will frantically buy anything that is laced in sugarcoated sentimentality. We expect John Lewis would sell out of toilet brushes if their ad had centred round a kind-hearted nurse staying late on Christmas Eve to remove one from a lonely pensioner’s back passage.

8. If you ever find yourself marooned on the moon – for whatever reason – would a telescope be high on your list of ‘must haves’? Surely it lags some way behind ‘a rocket’, ‘a satellite telly’ or ‘a girlfriend’ in lunar requisites. And could John Lewis not have embraced the festive season more fully by having the girl send the old fella a bottle of brandy and some turkey with all the trimmings? He must be delighted that his abject loneliness and isolation is offset by finally being able to sit on his cold bench and observe the collected seasonal cheer of gathered families on earth. Or perhaps this is what motivates the old man’s final, closing tear?