Okay, I’ll be straight up with you here – I have hated every single John Lewis Christmas advert from the last few years. Maybe it’s the schmaltzy, overly sentimental tone that each one has had, perhaps to counteract the product-heavy ads from Boots and Argos. But let’s face it, that’s kind of the point of an advertising campaign isn’t it – to get us to buy your products?
No, John Lewis has somehow managed, in the short space of 5 years (from what I can tell), to create some kind of tradition for themselves of producing big-budget, family centred advertising campaigns for Christmas… and I can’t stand them. Who gave them permission to spend stupid amounts of money on 90 seconds of video that is only recognisable as being for John Lewis because of the terrible, terrible choice of music?
Let’s talk about that aspect first, shall we? I’m not 100% sure when it started, but there’s a trend that, much like the snow, doesn’t show signs of stopping. I’m talking about okay-songs being given the acoustic treatment by a less-than-mediocre female singer. What the fuck is going on? When did this become an acceptable thing? You know what I’m talking about, and this advert is no exception. I only learned that the John Lewis Christmas advert (I still can’t believe that’s an actual thing) was coming out when I saw an article on Digital Spy about the singer who was doing the song for this year’s ad. Fair play to her, she can carry a tune but there’s this weird fetish now for songs being made shitty by singers singing them over a single-instrument accompaniment, and it’s particularly prevalent in advertising now as it can make whatever is happening on screen seem significantly more heartfelt and poignant, even if what’s happening is entirely illogical. If we can move away from the Christmas adverts for just a moment and look at the most recent John Lewis advert prior to the new Christmas one:
So they go on a date, catch a film, go for a bike ride, have a drink, go to the art gallery, she dances inappropriately for him, they presumably get down to business, then they have a right barney in the street, they apologise to one another (even though he was the one shouting at her in public, dick), then they run to each other and reunite – oh yeah, and they’re LIKE 80 YEARS APART.
1) They were clearly not seeing the same film, and if they were then she must have had a tough time seeing it without her 3D glasses
2) She would NEVER have received that message from his iPad
3) If she danced like that in Tiger Tiger she would get beaten the hell up, trust me (maybe that’s what they were fighting about?)
4) The shop they meet up in front of ISN’T EVEN JOHN LEWIS
Alright, back to my Christmas complaints.
Notice the music though? Exactly.
As I mentioned a little earlier, the latest ad cost £6 million, and I believe that the “Never Knowingly Undersold” campaign cost a similar amount. Where does this money go?!
It isn’t the first time their Christmas advert has been so highly anticipated though. Here are John Lewis’s last 5 Christmas adverts:
Do you notice how, the further we go back, the adverts become more focused on products? The current ads we’re seeing are just sort of “Oh look, let’s put plinky plonky music over a family being all warm when it’s snowing and stuff”. People get paid for coming up with that shit. AND SOMEHOW IT WORKS!
John Lewis have apparently taken it upon themselves to create these expensive adverts and make it a big event when they release them. Tonight, before they showed the latest advert, “The Journey”, Channel 4 actually preceded it with a “Channel 4 Premiere” ident – I didn’t know what it was going to be, and then the second I saw snow I knew it was going to be a John Lewis ad. Here’s ‘The Journey’.
I can’t be the only person who was totally and utterly horrified when I saw that. I can’t be. Snowmen moving around of their own free will? Going to any lengths to get back to where they were made, no doubt to confront their creators in a death match so grisly that Eli Roth would turn around and go “No, you know what? I can’t get off to this”. EVEN ELI FUCKING ROTH. That evil snowbastard has obviously come back to wreak revenge so unfathomably violent that the whole version can only be shown at 1am. But I’m not staying up to see it, the nightmares will be enough.
In the mean time, enjoy this video from The Poke, which I believes gets to the true heart of this ad campaign.