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.



RATE IT YOURSELF HERE



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".



RATE IT YOURSELF HERE



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.



RATE IT YOURSELF HERE



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.



RATE IT YOURSELF HERE



Stories

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TREY EDWARD SHULTS SIGNS TO ACADEMY

Up-and-coming director Trey Edward Shults has joined Academy films for representation in the UK and Europe.


MR BEN JOINS VISION.

Vision are pleased to announce the signing of production designer Mr. Ben for immediate representation.


ARROW FILMS TAKES FLIGHT.

Irish production house Russell Curran is no more, and in its place stands Anne-Marie Curran and Arrow Films.


RATTLING STICK WELCOME BACK HAMISH ROTHWELL.

Kiwi filmmaker Hamish Rothwell is back in the UK with Rattling Stick, and he’s keen to hit the ground running again.


JOE CONNOR SIGNS TO ROGUE

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IVAN BIRD'S NEW MOXIE PERCH.

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EMILIE THALUND JOINS HENRY.

Danish director Emilie Thalund now has French representation courtesy of HENRY.


YOU ARE HERE ARE TWO UP

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FAT LEMON SCORE DAN CASTELLA.

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JOSEF BATES REACHES GIDDY NEW HEIGHTS AT PRETTYBIRD.

English comedy director Josef Bates has expanded the directorial options at PRETTYBIRD with the addition of his name to their already impressive roster.


OLLY CHAPMAN.

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LUCY FORBES HEADS TO SMUGGLER

Smuggler are pleased to announce the signing of breakout director Lucy Forbes to their roster.


ANTIESTÁTICO WELCOME MARCO GENTILE.

Well-travelled filmmaker Marco Gentile has become the latest to join Antiestático for UK and Spanish representation.


MARCUS TORTORICI LANDS AT SPINDLE.

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FLAURA ATKINSON JOINS STITCH EDITING

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FLORIAN JOAHN IS COMPULSORY MATERIAL.

Director-slash-photographer Florian Joahn has joined COMPULSORY for worldwide representation.


TEMPLE CACHÉ JOIN BIRTH PRODUCTIONS.

Birth Productions have further strengthened their roster by signing production outfit Temple Caché.


JON HOZIER-BYRNE SIGNS TO RUSSELL CURRAN

Irish filmmaker Jon Hozier-Byrne has signed to Russell Curran's roster of directors.


SEBASTIEN GUY WALKS INTO THE VISIONARIES.

Actor-turned-director Sebastien Guy has joined The Visionaries for UK representation.


NEW DUO FOR MY ACCOMPLICE

The eclectic roster of highly talented directors at My Accomplice has been further bolstered by the arrival of Dorothy Allen-Pickard and Rohan Blair-Mangat.


RATTLING STICK WELCOME MISKO IHO.

Finland's Misko Iho is pleased to join his compatriot Pete Riski at Rattling Stick.


GEORGI BANKS-DAVIES JOINS ROGUE.

Georgi Banks-Davies has renewed her highly productive connection with Kate Taylor by joining her at Rogue.


EVERYTHING'S HUNKYDORY WITH DAVID SYMMONS.

HunkyDory have completed the signing of First Dates and 24 Hours in A&E director David Symmons for commercial representation.


CHRISTOPHER HEWITT REJOINS KNUCKLEHEAD.

Knucklehead say they're "dead chuffed" to see director Chris Hewitt return to the fold.


Stories

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