John Lewis today (Thursday November 6) revealed its 2014 Christmas advertising campaign, which aims to evoke the magic of make-believe at Christmas through a child’s eyes.
Set to the track ‘Real Love’, sung by Tom Odell and originally written and recorded by John Lennon, the advert tells the tale of a friendship between a little boy, Sam, and his penguin friend, Monty.
The advert follows Sam and Monty playing games through the year, from hide-and-seek to football. But as the winter months draw in, Sam begins to notice that Monty is sad and realises that he is longing for a companion. Knowing his friend well, on Christmas Day Sam gives Monty the gift he has been dreaming of: a new penguin friend called Mabel.
Featuring the strapline ‘Give someone the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of’, Monty and Mabel have been created using complex CGI technology to look and behave exactly like real life Adélie penguins.
The advert launches on the retailer’s social media channels on Thursday November 6 and will feature on TV for the first time on Friday November 7 during the first advert break in ‘Gogglebox’ on Channel 4. This follows a teaser campaign using #MontyThePenguin, on digital outdoor advertising sites and on Channel 4, where the broadcaster’s ‘idents’ have been transformed to feature Monty.
The TV ad will be followed by a combination of three shorter versions for six weeks. It cost £1m to make and is part of John Lewis’s overall £7m investment in its Christmas campaign. The ad can be viewed on www.johnlewis.com/christmas-advert and on the John Lewis YouTube channel www.youtube.com/johnlewisretail from today.
John Lewis marketing director Craig Inglis said: “At John Lewis, this time of year is all about helping our customers create their dream Christmas. We hope this uplifting tale of Sam’s love for his friend Monty will remind people of the magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes and inspire them to think how they can make the festive season extra special for their friends and loved ones.”
This message will be amplified beyond the TV campaign through an in-store space called Monty’s Den. From today, John Lewis shops across the country will be home to Monty’s Den – an interactive and immersive experience designed to bring the advertising campaign to life for families.
The Antarctic-themed space features a series of technology firsts (including ‘Monty’s Magical Toy Machine’ which enables children to bring their favourite toys to life through Microsoft technology, and ‘Monty’s Goggles’, which use Google Cardboard to allow children to enter a 360 degree virtual world and interact with Sam and Monty); educational content in ‘The Iceberg Station’ which will give children and their families the chance to learn more about the endangered Adélie Penguin as well as the opportunity to find out about WWF’s Adopt a Penguin programme which John Lewis is supporting; and a photo opportunity with the star of this year’s campaign, Monty.
In partnership with Samsung, Monty’s Den is to open at the retailer’s flagship shops, Oxford Street and Peter Jones, as well as at 41 John Lewis shops across the country until December 23.
Merchandise inspired by Monty and Mabel will also be available, including a children’s book called ‘Monty’s Christmas’ of which a proportion of the proceeds will go to Barnardo’s, John Lewis’s 150th anniversary charity. An audio app version of the book narrated by Dermot O’Leary is on iTunes from today, along with the ‘Real Love’ single by Tom Odell.
John Lewis has also put its Christmas advertising campaign at the heart of its flagship shop windows. Unveiled to customers tonight, the John Lewis Oxford Street and Peter Jones’ shop-front windows will feature a colony of model penguins interacting with key home, fashion and technology products for the Christmas season.
Lucy Lines, retail designer at John Lewis, said: “In previous years we’ve incorporated elements of the Christmas advert into our shop windows. However, this year we’ve brought it to the forefront. We felt the penguins would be hugely popular with our customers and hope they enjoy the way they interact with our core Christmas products.”
Alongside the John Lewis Oxford Street and Peter Jones’ windows, all John Lewis shops will feature penguins in some form. John Lewis operates 43 John Lewis shops across the UK – 31 department stores, 10 John Lewis ‘at home’ stores and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2 – as well as johnlewis.com.