Why we love the John Lewis Christmas ads

Why do we love the John Lewis Christmas ads so much? For me, it’s the music as well as the general schmaltz which I’m prepared to tolerate at Christmas. The Telegraph has handily put together this round up of John Lewis Christmas ads since 2007 when the retailer put out its first spot shot especially for the biggest shopping spree of the year.

2016 John Lewis Christmas ad

John Lewis 2016 Christmas ad with Buster

The Telegraph tells us that it was in 2009 that John Lewis’ ad agency first got a contemporary artist to sing an iconic song and it’s this tradition, more than any other, which makes the ad for me each year.

In 2009 it was a version of Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child O’ Mine but I have to say my favourite tune was Lily Allen’s version of Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know in 2013 over the bear and the hare animation. For tear-jerk value and the overall storyline my favourite film is the 2011 Christmas ad The Long Wait, in which a boy cannot wait for Christmas morning just so that… he can give his parents the present he’s got them (the details of how he got the present remain unclear).

It’s a great legacy of work for John Lewis and its ad agency Adam & Eve DDB. I’ve joked in the past about changing my bio to ‘John Lewis target audience’ but, even so, these Christmas ads work so well with a classic song and a touching story that they’re impossible to resist. Now all I want to know is how the agency got all those animals to bounce on the 2016 trampoline together. Presumably the footage is edited and the badger didn’t actually feature at the same time as the two foxes? Answers on a postcard or in the comments box.

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Out with the old, in with the noo

Frosted fennel 

lucecannon is stirring from the pit of mince pies and chestnut-flavoured flatus in which she has lain since last posting, to wish you all a very Happy New Year. Recession aside, I can’t help but feel 2009 could actually be better than the outgoing year has been. Forget the even years; they’re for plodding. The odd years are where it’s at. See, I’m an optimist at heart.

Before segueing hangover-free into the New Year, it remains simply to review a few bits of Christmas telly. I do this with a child sliding around the sitting room in plastic, high-heeled shoes singing Abba songs. Forgive any misspellings or inattention to detail.

Wallace & Gromit was the top-rating programme of Christmas day, with an astounding 14.3m viewers. Its scheduling at 8.30pm helped but I can’t help but feel it got a lot of hype for a 30-minute programme, even a painstakingly clever animated one. Feature films last longer, cost more time and money to make but don’t do so well on TV. The Beeb and Aardman Animation must be rubbing their hands with glee. What with re-runs of Nick Park’s other specials The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave, the BBC has made a Wallace and Gromit mountain out of not very much new material. One-off specials plus a load of interstitials, some of which were presumably helped by the Pyrex and Kingsmill deal, are clearly the way forward.

As for The Royle Family’s Christmas special, I have distinctly mixed feelings. Maybe it’s the recession, maybe it’s the advent of things like Gavin & Stacey and Outnumbered in the two years since the Royle Family was last on air but I found its brand of ‘poor but happy’ family comedy distinctly depressing this year. The hot water on the cuppa soup for Denise and Dave’s starter was just that, hot water. The turkey still frozen and sitting in the airing cupboard perhaps a bit too close to real-life experiences of finding potatoes still sitting cold and uncooked in their oil and adults asleep at the table, just when you hoped to be sitting down to a meal.

Dr Who was OK. The kids enjoyed it. We knew what to expect, got what we expected and nothing more. Couldn’t quite work out if David Tennant was quizzickly standing aloof from David Morrissey’s over-acting or just being Dr Who. But it doesn’t matter because we all know he’s not the Doctor for much longer anyway. On which note, the BBC 1 schedule felt bereft of new ideas with Wallace and hound, Royle Family, Dr Who and EastEnders dominating Christmas day.

Among the gems were Lead Balloon on BBC 2 with Rick temporarily full of festive goodwill and the Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special where the supporting cast now easily outshine the two central characters and Mick’s battles with Nigella’s instructions to soak a turkey pre-roasting were an inspired yet subtle backgrop to the angst inherent in getting two families together at Christmas.

Finally for lucecannon, Rupert Everett made an unexpectedly good Sherlock Holmes on BBC 1 on Monday night playing the slightly aged roue he probably is. Loved it, let’s have more.

That’s it. The rest of the time was spent eating, drinking, walking and mostly making merry. Adieu, 2008.

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