I Waited All Year for This, and…

I feel guilty saying that I’m a little disappointed.

I’m talking about this year’s Christmas advert from John Lewis/Waitrose. It’s always been one of the highlights of the Christmas season for me, since they have produced some memorable ads over the years.

But I didn’t think this year’s ad lived up to the high standards from previous years.

Here’s the ad:

The advert illustrates how acts of kindness, large and small, can multiply and positively impact the world in which we live as we pass them on to others. These acts of kindness include a little girl helping a boy get his football down from the tree, a snowman helping a family get their car started, a nurse helping a girl fix her glasses on the bus, neighbors sharing a joke from a cracker, a barber giving a child a haircut they’re very pleased with, and a little hedgehog who desperately wants to hang around with a group of very cool pigeons, who help him fly in an airplane. The theme for the ad is #GiveALittleLove.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine commercial, but I guess I was expecting to have my heartstrings tugged a bit more.

The reason I feel guilty is that the advert is part of a campaign to raise Β£4 million for two charities: FareShare, which helps those facing food poverty, and Home-Start, which works with parents who need support.

Since I just finished my grades for the semester, I guess I’m still in a grading mood so I’ll grade this advert.

I’d give the video a B+, but the charity part of it an A+.

And to give you an idea of the sort of advert I am comparing this to, here’s my favorite John Lewis Christmas advert, from 2014, featuring Monty the Penguin. This one definitely had a more commercial bent to it, with the retailer selling the Penguin in its stores, but it’s still heartwarming…

It reminds me a bit of Calvin & Hobbes.

And that’s an A+…

51 thoughts on “I Waited All Year for This, and…

  1. I like the penguin one better, also. But that’s the problem with excellence. If you do a great job, it raises the bar. And then you’re expected to meet or exceed that bar the next time, or else you get a B+.

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  2. I don’t see much difference between the two commercials. Both are excellent. Probably why I never wowed my teachers into an A+. Along the lines of #GiveALittleLove, there was a story in the news about a drive through restaurant where one car paid for the the car behind it. That went on for something like 900 cars!

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  3. Oh my gosh! Yes, the penguin wins and now I love penguins even more than I did before and I want one! Thanks for the heartstring tug, now I am going to have to add penguin to my Christmas list for my hubby! πŸ™‚

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  4. The message in the first video is heartwarming and the transitions through realistic and animated versions is interesting, but I would agree it does not pull you in quite as much as that loveable Monty. There is something just inherently adorable about penguins. And the portrayed bond between this young boy and his penguin is hard not to be moved by. As you said, it is reminiscent of Calvin and Hobbs. I did like the part with the pigeons and the hedgehog the most in the first one. The scene with him hanging out with feathers stuck in his quills is touching. Thanks for sharing, Jim!

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  5. I am very partial to pinguins and that commercial was great. Having said that, the new commercial has a bit of complexity to it at the very end that shows how circular giving can be. It starts with the girl helping the boy get the ball off the tree and ends with the girl walking off the bus after her glasses were fixed to see the boy kick the ball high up in the air. I think they were both great in different ways.

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    1. well said, Margie. I guess I should not have been so hard on this year’s ad. It’s just that I liked the penguin ad so much, that it’s probably tough for any ad to measure up to it.

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      1. Why isn’t there a ‘love’ button on WordPress? I wonder if it will fit in the van…oh, and do you think that we’ll have problems crossing the border with a penguin. I can imagine the look on the officer’s face when I say that we are travelling with a pet penguin πŸ™‚

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  6. I think this is their worst ever, by a distance. Everything is signalled so obviously. I have this vision of the creatives meeting up to decide on the campaign, and someone saying β€˜we’ll never do this as well as Hafod Hardware so we may as well give in now.’ A lesson in how to concede, which is necessary right now. They might as well have just donated what it cost them direct to charity.

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    1. I always like your honest appraisals! But reading through the comments, it seems like many people did like the ad; I may have to give it another look.One of these days I will be showing the Hafod ad…

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      1. I think my disapproval was probably because I was comparing it with previous years. They have given us some classics but I just don’t think this year’s matched up to them. It’s good that others liked it, though. I’m working my way through Hafod’s collection: two more to come, and this year’s may get a repeat showing too.

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