One of the most anticipated campaigns in recent years has been that of John Lewis. In 2011, John Lewis launched an advert telling the story of a young boy wanting to buy his parents the perfect Christmas present. We loved it. We bought into the story and built an emotional connection with the boy - we willed him to buy the perfect present!
John Lewis had struck gold. They had cracked it. They achieved a 9.3% increase in sales and broke records with their "best week ever with a sterling total of £133.1m for the week ending 17th December 2011" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16408452).
Since then John Lewis have stuck to their winning formula - involve the audience on an emotional level. The 2012 snowman who crossed the city to buy a scarf for his snow lady; 2013's bear and hare and this year's Monty the penguin looking for love... they have one thing in common - they tug at our heart strings. We get involved - we love the characters, the story, the sentiment.
In 2013, John Lewis' Bear and Hare advert did something extra. As well as convincing us that the heroic hare had saved the bear's Christmas, John Lewis created a stroke of marketing genius... they created two iconic characters. With Bear and Hare and the public behind them, John Lewis sold the soft toys, the pencil case, the duvet cover, the umbrella and even the story book. Merchandising at its best!
This year's advert repeats the process. Monty the penguin finds love in his Christmas mate, Mabel, with a little help from his human friend (and John Lewis!) Again, the story appeals to our festive natures and pulls us in hook, line and sinker! They've done it again - an emotional connection for us to relish and all of the merchandise to go with it! The soft toys (in three sizes), the cufflinks, the tie, the Christmas decorations, the hot water bottle cover, the duvet cover... the list goes on.
So here it is... my number one Christmas advert for 2014 - not for the heartwarming story or the creative CGI animated penguins, but for the whole package. The 2014 John Lewis Monty Penguin advert - just genius.