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How John Lewis create the perfect Christmas advert #MozThe​Monster

It’s finally here, the Christmas joy of a marketing academic. Dr Charles Hancock, lecturer in marketing and operations talks about waiting gleefully for the big retailers offering at Christmas with the pinnacle and golden benchmark for Christmas adverts being John Lewis.

By Dr Charles Hancock - 10 November 2017

The questions on people’s lips: how does it compare to bouncing Buster? Or the man in the moon? Does it pull on your heartstrings as previous ones did? Is it better than the others this year?

John Lewis has followed its classic recipe, like a Nigella sumptuous treat! There is a young boy on the eve of Christmas, a soft cuddly lovable character, a story, a connected Mum and a slow emotional classic soundtrack re-imaged by Elbow. These are the surface level components for its successful Christmas advert recipe each year with slight variations.

How does it compare with John Lewis past offerings?

I believe they’ve done well. There is a great story, which has left me wanting a Moz The Monster to be under my bed. But how about the deeper emotional connections? Well yes there is a tug at the heartstrings. I think because we quickly make a human connection with the boy and a memory of going to bed thinking about our own monster under the bed that may just nip our toes, if they are carelessly peeping out from under the covers.

The emotional element goes further. The Mum acknowledges the boy when he sees the roughly wrapped present from Moz under the tree, but shrugs it off, suggesting that she doesn’t know who it’s from. The boy switches the beautiful star light on and the monster finally leaves the boy to sleep. This perhaps suggests that John Lewis has those extra special gifts to give – ones that can dissolve the monster under the bed.

The advert clearly has John Lewis stamped all over it, thus ensuring that we still resonate with their brand and are not left disappointed. We have set our own expectations and the John Lewis creative content teams have to push all boundaries to exceed those Christmas expectations. Have they done that this year? In my opinion, yes they have, and it’s polished to perfection!

The advert is just the tip of iceberg. As in previous years, they have included their own hashtag which enables a whole of host of conversational posts by critics, customers, Christmas-aholics and excited marketing lecturers. The advert is supported by the cuddly MozTheMonster toy, a book and pyjamas – all physical things. John Lewis has also extended the experience by creating an app that allows you to create your own monster thus interacting with the brand further still.

So will Moz beat off Marks and Spencer’s Paddington? I think John Lewis has its own unique classic style and their recipe is the Christmas advert to try to topple…

Enjoy it and feel the Christmas spirit.

About the author

Charles Hancock reading a book.

Dr Charles Hancock
Senior Lecturer in Marketing

Charles is the programme leader for MSc Marketing Management. He is an award-winning lecturer with a passion for inspiring students to achieve. He has research interests in discovering deep customer value through using a visual research methodology and is currently interested in exploring the future of the high street.

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