Comment Writer John James laments the UK’s annual meltdown over the John Lewis Christmas advert
The John Lewis Christmas advert has dropped. #MOZTHEMONSTER is here. Since 2007, John Lewis has released an advert set to various airy songs that seek to portray the core values of Christmas, within their product market (look how nice Christmas is when you wear a John Lewis scarf!!). Though nobody remembers any before 2010 when Ellie Goulding’s cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ gave her a number one and him millions of pounds in royalties, they’ve regrettably become as traditional as Mum forgetting to wrap the presents and Dad not returning your calls. Well at least in my family…
This year it tells the charming tale of a boy and the monster who lives under his bed, all night they play together leaving the poor lad rather tired in the day! Luckily on Christmas day under the tree lies a John Lewis night light, bequeathed to him by the monster with the whole tale functioning as a metaphor for the child’s fear of the dark. Ahhh how sweet. Well no, it’s not. It’s a travesty, it’s a disgrace, it’s like kicking Father Christmas in the ballbag and firebombing his grotto. Monsters aren’t Christmassy! Where’s the snow and the carrots and the reindeer and the snow… and.. and.. the snowmen?
We’re poised for the statement from Downing Street but one can only assume this marks the final death knell for Theresa May’s government. Yes predictably, the country has come together in outrage to condemn the advert, seemingly oblivious to the fact; it is an advert. Shock. Has there been a single year when people didn’t criticise the advert. Like we criticise the town’s Christmas lights, or the council’s treatment of the bins, or Britain for not being the Britain it was, we are compelled to criticise and moan about this video every year. It is an advertisement, it is designed to sap you into buying something. The fact it’s not working should give you reason to be cheerful no? Genuine Christmas cheer! Buying your loved one a John Lewis hamper because you saw a magic penguin buy his partner one isn’t going to magically alter their perception and appreciation of you. They know what you are you monster.
But, we’ve sunk so low as a nation that people eagerly await the adverts arrival like stranded Agamemnon seeking the Oracle of Delphi’s guidance (at great cost too, but I fear that’s a story for another time). As a result, the industry for this thing is massive. Last year John Lewis spent £7 million pounds on the campaign. The firm that makes the advert, Adam and Eve, begins work on the next advert immediately after they release this years. Nothing captures the festive spirit of the nation like a parable of an insomniac and a Monsters Inc. reject brainstormed in November, cast in January, filmed in spring, edited in summer and released in the first week of November, does it?
Yes, It’s November. Even if the advert was Jesus Christ riding a tripod through the north pole with Kermit and Rudolph sound tracked to an unreleased Freddie Mercury Christmas ballad, by Christmas Eve you’d be so fatigued by the whole ordeal you’d want nothing more than the whole charade consigned to the flames. Let’s just accept it, nobody’s felt Christmassy since they were a child and obsessing yearly about a music video set to product placement isn’t going to recapture it. Please everyone shut up. Like it, or don’t. It doesn’t matter, there are other things you can like, other things you can discuss. At any other point in the year, if you heard someone talking about an advert you’d think them at best boring and at worst disturbed. Apply the same principle here. This advert like many before it is simply an advert. And an awful one, not because it fails to give Christmas cheer, but because it’s got Elbow on it…
Nobody likes Elbow, Elbow don’t like being Elbow, Imagine getting an Elbow CD in your stocking, or tickets to an Elbow Gig, just you, the band and the sound technician, all trapped in your own personal hell.