John Lewis have gone back to their roots for their 2017 Christmas advert, returning to the heartwarming approach after last year’s humorous effort.
The ad, titled ‘Moz the Monster’ plays on the classic kids’ fear of there being a monster under the bed, except Moz is different - he’s just a big, fluffy fellow who snores, farts and wants to play.
It’s the second straight year in which John Lewis have featured a mixed race central family, showing that whatever you may think about the ads, they are making an effort to promote diversity.
The two-minute ad cost the company millions, and they’ve employed some top creative brains to the project - it was helmed by Academy award-winning screenwriter Michel Gondry, director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. That’s how important Christmas ads are to the big brands these days.
While there were strong rumours that the ad would be soundtracked by a cover of Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’, in honour of George Michael, who passed away on Christmas Day last year, those rumours have turned out to be false.
Instead, we have Elbow singing am excellent cover of Beatles tune ‘Golden Slumbers’, from their 1969 album Abbey Road. We’d put it up there with one of the best covers ever to feature in one of the John Lewis Christmas ads.
In the ad, the young boy, Joe - who is played by seven-year-old twin brothers Ethan and Tobias - is initially frightened when he discovers Moz under his bed, and puts up a sign on the door saying ‘NO MONSTERS ALLOWED’.
However, it quickly becomes clear that Moz means no harm - although he does snore very loudly and let of some truly spectacular farts, meaning the boy doesn’t exactly get the best nights of sleep in the run up to Christmas.
Joe bonds with Moz, until the monster becomes his little (OK, very big and fluffy) secret, and on Christmas morning, he arrives downstairs to find a very scruffily wrapped present under the tree.
He opens it to discover a lamp which projects stars around his bedroom. When he goes to bed that night he turns it on and looks under his bed - but Moz isn’t there.
It looks like the ad is set to end on a sad note, but when Joe switches the lamp off, he hears Moz’s unmistakable grunt from under the bed, and he smiles himself to sleep.
The ad is estimated to have cost around £7 million to make, and will premiere tonight (Friday) during Gogglebox on Channel 4.
It will be going up against M&S’ ad, which stars Paddington Bear, and the Sainsbury’s ad, which is expected to premiere on Sunday night.
The supermarket has tried hard to encroach on John Lewis’ ground in recent years, with ads based on the World War football match between English and German soldiers, and the James Corden-led claymation from last year.
Moz the Monster follows Buster the Boxer from last year, and continues the theme of basing the ads around a character the store can use for merchandise - Monty the Penguin was the star from two years ago.
Moz is a giant puppet which has two men inside working it, the Guardian reports. His facial expressions were later added using CGI.
Craig Inglis, John Lewis’s customer director, said: “This year’s Christmas campaign brings to life the power of children’s imaginations and the joy of great friendships. Moz and Joe’s story is magical and heartwarming.”