I feel like a traitor saying it but was I the only person who was left wanting after viewing John Lewis’ Christmas advert? Maybe it was ‘hyped’ too much, having tweeted the drop of the ad “soon” a whole 10 hours later we were excitedly pressing play…

2017 – #MozTheMonster – 370K+ views (so far, 5 hours after release)

Now, firstly we have to look back over the past 6 years to the ‘first’ infamous Christmas advert, The Long Wait. This was the game-changer, the start of the John Lewis Christmas ad cult following, and for good reason. The story of a young boy counting down the hours to Christmas so that he could give his parents a present – the perfect ‘switch up’ that left most parents (and a lot of the rest of us) sobbing. Since then people have waited for John Lewis to release their seasonal offering with more money being invested each year, this year’s budget reportedly £7 million. I watched the ad, hiding in the bathroom with the volume down so as to not wake my husband, and just didn’t get the ‘feels’ that John Lewis adverts usually give. I can’t put my finger on why this advert didn’t ‘connect’ with me. Yes, the friendly monster is very cute and reminded me strongly of Where the Wild Thing Are, and you can almost predict the rush to buy a #MozTheMonster cuddly toy for Christmas. Maybe this is the difference? If you notice since 2014, John Lewis have made their adverts more commercial.

In 2014 they released #MontyThePenguin and here began the use of a hashtag title – clearly the marketing team decided to capitalise on the huge presence these ads have on social media. Also we saw the release of the Monty penguin merchandise, another fantastic commercial move from John Lewis as everyone, including my mother, ran out to buy something with Monty on. It has been reported that John Lewis made a total of £18mil on Monty the Penguin inspired merchandise, more than covering the £6.9mil spent on producing the advert.

In 2015 John Lewis partnered with Age UK to bring up #ManOnTheMoon, a fantastic way to raise awareness of the elderly who are left alone on Christmas, with proceeds from merchandise going towards the charity. Although the advert was critised by many, it was a genuinely heartwarming move from the big retailer to use their audience for something altruistic, and with 28.8+million views it remains the most viewed Christmas Ad on John Lewis’ YouTube channel. Some cynics would say that John Lewis were simply following in the footsteps of Sainsbury’s who partnered with the Royal British Legion the year before to bring us one of the most emotive Christmas adverts to date, The Christmas Truce. However, John Lewis have followed this trend with #MozTheMonster partnering with Barnardos – another fantastic charity, which also explains the theme of the advert. So, although John Lewis have commercialised their advert, you can’t argue with all the proceeds from merchandise going to help children affected by poverty – what could be more in the Holiday spirit!

But even with the all this in mind, am I alone in thinking this year’s advert is not up to their usual standard? #MozTheMonster has been trending on Twitter and so far the reaction seems mixed, with some people praising John Lewis for ‘doing it again’ whereas others seem to have been left deflated. To be honest, the marketing behind #MozTheMonster so far has been pretty impressive, with ‘thank you’ video messages from Moz being tweeted to peoples comments. John Lewis and Bernardos aren’t the only one’s who are going to benefit from #MoztheMonster; Sky have already capitalised on the advert releasing a ‘Making of’ video. So, what do you think? Does this live up to the hype or do you agree with Jake who’s response on twitter has been my favourite so far:

Timeline of John Lewis Christmas Ads 2011-2016

2016 – #BusterTheBoxer – 25.8+ million views

2015 – #ManOnTheMoon – 28.8+ million views

2014 – #MontyThePenguin – 26.9+ million views

2013 – The Bear & The Hare – 16.5+ million views

2012 – The Journey – 6.6+ million views

2011 – The Long Wait – 7.9+ million views