When the John Lewis Christmas ad dropped at 7am this morning, it became apparent that the retailer – now known for causing the media sensation of the year each November in the run up to the festive season – was going back to what it does best.
One year on from the somewhat more lukewarm reception to its Elton John Christmas extravaganza, John Lewis, and this time in partnership with its sister grocery retailer, Waitrose, has harked back to the tear-jerking days of animated critters and heart-string tugging pop melodies.
This year, the responsibility of firing up the pre-Christmas sales falls on the shoulders of an excitable baby dragon called Edgar, and his friend, a young girl called Ava. The two and a half minute ‘feature’, that if it falls in line with previous John Lewis ads, would have cost around £7m to produce, follows the story of Edgar, a social pariah who can’t stop spurting fire when excited, and disrupting the fairy-tale village’s Christmas fun.
Set to the soundtrack of the US soft rock group REO Speedwagon’s 1980s Can’t Fight This Feeling sung by Bastille’s frontman Dan Smith, we follow Edgar and Ava and their journey to finding the young dragon’s place within this rural community, which, it transpires, is giving the Christmas pudding a lick of flame.
Just what Edgar will be doing for the other 364 days of the year is not revealed.
The Christmas ad lands as retailers face a tough time on the UK high street. Analysts suggest that both the combination of marketing efforts for John Lewis and Waitrose in this year’s Christmas ad campaign, and its return to a tried and tested formula after last year’s Elton John advert underline the pressure felt by retailers to cook up the Christmas sales this year.
John Lewis, after all, made its first ever half year loss in September this year. The John Lewis/Waitrose campaign is now launched on social media, while its TV premiere will take place during ITV’s X Factor: Celebrity on Saturday.
Of course, the retailer has already lined up the Edgar merchandise, including a £15 toy dragon, a children’s book and pyjamas.