The climax of the festive ad season is here once again, with the arrival of the hotly anticipated John Lewis Christmas ad. Except that this year, it’s the John Lewis and Waitrose Christmas ad.
This year’s spot follows on from the two retailers’ decision to more closely align their businesses and rebrand under the John Lewis Partnership last year, resulting in two separate Christmas campaigns that complemented the Elton John festive theme in rather different ways.
Created by adam&eveDDB and set in ‘a land far, far away’, their first joint festive effort is the heartwarming story of an excitable young dragon called Edgar and his best friend Ava.
While the rest of the village is getting ready for Christmas, Edgar’s over-enthusiastic attempts to help with the festivities inevitably result in disaster, thanks to his inability to control his instinct to breathe fire.
When Edgar refuses to go to the village feast for fear of ruining Christmas altogether, Eva gives him one of the greatest gifts of all – acceptance – in the form of a rather fitting festive food item, neatly tieing in a classic John Lewis Christmas tale with Waitrose’s obvious focus on food at this time of year.
After the mixed reaction to 2018’s Elton John Lewis-gate and a particularly turbulent year for the business, it feels only right that Excitable Edgar harks back to the kind of heartwarming storytelling that made the John Lewis Christmas ad such an institution in the first place.
Crucially, it’s got all the right ingredients for the retailer’s blockbuster festive spot. John Lewis favourite Dougal Wilson is back directing the spot, and the soundtrack this year is provided by Bastille, who have covered REO Speedwagon’s 80s power ballad Can’t Fight this Feeling.
Meanwhile, the creative team behind the CGI Edgar, Untold Studios, have succeeded in making an instantly loveable character who is more than a match for Monty the Penguin and Moz the Monster.
Chief Creative Officer: Richard Brim
Joint Chief Executive Officer: Tammy Einav
Creative Director: Matt Gay
Creative: Simon Lloyd
Production company: Blink Productions
Director: Dougal Wilson
Producer: Ewen Brown
Production Designer: Andy Kelly
Costume Designer: Rebecca Rich
Post production company: Untold Studios
Creative Director VFX: Diarmid Harrison-Murray
ECD Untold Studios: Neil Davies