John Lewis - The Man On The Moon - (2015) 2:00 (UK)

Is it that time again? While the US has the Super Bowl, we have the John Lewis ad - a very well known UK department store that's been making us sob every Christmas - and not just at their prices. Last year a Calvin and Hobbes relationship between a boy and his penguin tugged at our heartstrings. This year the story is called 'The Man On The Moon' and features the voyeuristic relationship between the world's best hermit and a girl with an implausibly powerful telescope.

As the saying goes - if they're crying... they're buying. Whether this will capture the imagination of the Great British Public and become what I suppose we can still call a 'watercooler ad', the next few days will tell. One observation that comes to mind is unlike recent efforts this ad has no clever twist, no dramatic reveal. The penguin was a toy all along. The bear wakes up from his hibernation to enjoy Christmas with his friend. The boy can't wait - not to get his presents - but to give presents. Where's the reveal here? We already know the little girl is trying to send a message to the man on the moon, so when she does, it's exactly what we were expecting. There's no grounding; no bringing it back to earth. How much more powerful would this message about loneliness have been if the sweet old man had been revealed to really live, say, opposite, rather than 384,000 km away.

The ad finishes with the reminder to 'Show someone they're loved this Christmas', with the obvious subtext - 'by shopping at John Lewis'.

Yes, I suppose it does, but why mess with a winning formula? However, with some exceptions, not everyone is leaking like a waterbed pincushion and throwing out the usual unanimous praise that makes you expect they're getting paid. Steve Myall at the Mirror is calling this 'plain creepy' and 'the worst kind of emotional box ticking.' Better keep the receipt.

Adam & EveDDB

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Dabitch's picture

Aaaaand for once I am not moved to tears. Everyone else here in the office were grabbing for their hankies though. Weird, I'm usually the first one to cry when the violins come out. They missed the mark this year.

David Felton's picture

It's too signposted. We don't want to see the invisible hand. Then again, the only reason we're holding this up to such astronomical standards is that Adam&EveDDB have done such incredible work in the past and we're judging them against it.