John Lewis christmas adverts are a major thing. Go back several years and you'll see how they changed the landscape of festive advertising across the board. The first one replayed the Christmas football game in the trenches during a world war.
We know the formula by now. A classic song given a new twist, a companion story that tugs at the heart strings and a catch line to make you smile.
It's designed to get under the skin, be everywhere and be a part of the Xmas fabric. Moz the Monster was maybe the most memorable character of the last few years.
What John Lewis should have done for 2021 is felt the mood better and realised that this is the year families and friends will be getting together for Xmas for the first time in 2 years ...
A better advert may have been kitchen tables, families knocking on doors, a street party ... a new version of Cum Feel The Noise all building to a synchronized cracker pull across tables nationwide, as the chatter of families and friends fills the air.
To me that's feel good, that's Christmas, and it gives good old John Lewis a chance to get some products into the advert, something sadly missing here.
The tag line .. Christmas Like It Used To Be; Many Happy Return; or Stuff the New Normal
Yet this year, we'll for me in any case its just wrong. It's adverts by numbers ... ask yourself this question. If the text at the end of the ad doesn't tell you who it's for can you even tell it's advertising John Lewis. It is even advertising the feel good aspects of Christmas? Let's face it but for the trees, and the mincepies it's a story that could take place at any time of the year.
A child walks in the woods, finds an Alien in a crashed starship ... and communicates with them via Xmas trinkets until the space ship is fixed and they disappear into the sunset, a quick peck on the cheek before leaving. All of this to a quite bland reimagining of an 80s pop classic Together In Electric Dreams. It's a bit of a Calvin and Hobbs retelling in as much that the Starman could well be just the boys imagination, no on else interacts with the alien or sees them.
Either way it doesn't scream happy first post pandemic Xmas.
I know these things start life around a boardroom table in June and knowing there wouldn't be a further Xmas lock down would be high risk but there is a way to tell that story even if we are locked up again.
We want to drum up excitement, joy, anticipation ... I want Christmas now and I want it to last forever.
Sorry John Lewis but for 2021 at least my award advert of the year will more than likely go to someone else.