Christmas comes early in the advertising world, sometimes before we even get our first frost. November 1st brings a host of Christmas advertisements in stores, online and in print. Before the customer has even thought about the holidays, they are bombarded with red, green and flashing lights pushing them towards festive shopping and holiday spirit.
John Lewis, an upscale department store in Great Britain has done the same in releasing its first holiday commercial, though they differ from typical holiday ads. Instead of typical in-your-face ads flashing their holiday deals, John Lewis annually creates a story advertisement selling the holiday and the theme they create. Though not directly including the company’s deals and promotions, it is clear to everyone who knows John Lewis that the ad is from them.
This year, they’ve created a story about a boy and his friend penguin, Monty. The story is heartwarming and fitting with the holiday atmosphere, and represents the start of holiday shopping at John Lewis. Plush versions of Monty have been created to sell specially as holiday gifts, just as characters from previous years’ ads have been recreated for profit. They’ve even written a children’s book about the story, which will be sold specially at John Lewis stores. They’ve essentially created a Christmas product which is appealing to young children, and available only at their stores.
The focus on the story and atmosphere rather than the selling of product is meant to create an atmosphere different from the rushed and cut-throat holiday industry everywhere else. Their unique product ensures a profit from the ad. Does this make the ad more effective than the others? Does it truly convince the public to do their holiday shopping with them?