David Reviews

 "You're not an artist, Peggy. You solve problems." Don Draper.

THE JOHN LEWIS CHRISTMAS ADS - RANKED
17 November 2019

There's no question that the John Lewis Christmas commercial is the most hyped piece of advertising of the year, and now that it's landed, let's take the opportunity to compare its performance with previous years.

Our ratings system has its flaws, but that's no reason to disregard its results, and so we present all nine Christmas ads since 'The Long Wait' reinvented the genre.

The results may not be what you'd expect. At the time of writing, last year's film by Seb Edwards featuring Elton John is sitting at the top of the heap, followed by all five of the ads directed by Dougal Wilson. We would expect the film that started it all – 'The Long Wait' – to be higher up the list, but that's showbiz!


1) John Lewis - Elton's Piano (2018)

The rumours around Elton John's involvement in this year's John Lewis Christmas ad were true then. The 71 year old superstar has lent his voice and his gravitas to the advertising's biggest event as it edges away from its well-established template into a slightly different shape. The film uses a Time's Arrow approach to Elton John's life, opening with a reflective moment on the piano and a glance through his stellar career.



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2) John Lewis - Monty the Penguin (2014)

A remarkable aspect of the John Lewis Christmas phenomenon is the way adam&eveDDB take the annual anticipation in their stride and make it work totally to the advantage of the brand. Fulfilling expectations after success is so difficult we even have a name for it - that "difficult second album syndrome" - but this Christmas institution is already onto its sixth album and there's no sense of any difficulty in maintaining the quality. Indeed, this year's may be the best yet.



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3) John Lewis - Buster the Boxer (2016)

As the world reels in revulsion at the decision to put Donald Trump in The White House, one wise Twitter user summed up the mood of the nation. Philip Westerman used the social media platform to say: "The John Lewis Christmas advert better be fucking spectacular". Well, we've got news for you, Mr Westerman... for the next two minutes, everything's going to be all right because it is "fucking spectacular".



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4) John Lewis - The Journey (2012)

An utterly lovely commercial for John Lewis to mark Christmas... again. Following last year's brilliance was always going to be difficult but it cannot be doubted that they've succeeded with this wonderfully involving tale of devotion. Doff your hats to Adam&EveDDB and Mr Dougal Wilson.



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5) John Lewis - The Long Wait (2011)

A young boy's wait for Christmas Day seems unending but, despite the soundtrack, his motives are neither selfish or materialistic. The twist is lovely and you may find yourself getting a little emotional as you watch him dash to give rather than receive. A beautiful film which captures the true spirit of Christmas.



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6) John Lewis & Waitrose - Excitable Edgar (2019)

The most eagerly-awaited commercial of the year has been released... the John Lewis Christmas ad - brought to you this year in association with their supermarket partners Waitrose. After last year's departure from the usual template, this ad is a return to the fold. For the fifth time, Dougal Wilson has been entrusted with the director's chair and for the fifth time he has delivered an exquisite tale sure to strike a chord with a public who genuinely anticipate this commercial with great excitement.



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7) John Lewis - The Bear and the Hare (2013)

John Lewis's Christmas effort is now well established as the 'daddy', and the clamour ahead of this year's unveiling has been quite remarkable. Is it worth all the fuss? Of course it is. Like last year, there's a notable absence of humans in the ad and this proves a wise choice as it allows an unremitting level of sentimentality.



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8) John Lewis - Man on the Moon (2015)

The anticipation ahead of the John Lewis Christmas commercial grows and grows and this year it's been so great that the backlash began before anyone had even seen it. Those silly naysayers have - as you might expect - just been completely trumped by the film itself which is unerringly beautiful.



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9) John Lewis - Moz the Monster (2017)

The template established by adam&eveDDB for John Lewis's big Christmas commercial undoubtedly makes it predictable. We could all anticipate that it will be a sweetly emotional film featuring a child in the build-up to Christmas Day but because it's a formula which the public adores, the most predictable aspect of all is the love it will receive.



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Stories

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Stories

David Reviews - Lovely Lenzie Ltd, Woodbourne House, Seven Sisters, Lenzie, G66 3AW. Telephone: +44 141 776 7766. Editor: Jason Stone.