I did it.
I finally did it.
I watched the John Lewis Christmas ad… but only for the purposes of writing this blog post. I’ve been making snide remarks and taking cynical swipes at it (or rather, the expectation that you have to watch the John Lewis Christmas ad … seemingly a greater annual event than Christmas itself), without actually having seen it.
It’s okay. It’s a bit hammy – almost closer to theatre than a TV ad. I’m also not mad keen on having my heartstrings pulled by the lonely, elderly man, and ‘show someone they’re loved this Christmas’… yeah, by making sure you buy your presents (and therefore spend lots of money) at John Lewis. It’s a touch mercenary.
Having said that, I’m aware that the ad was made in conjunction with Age UK, with the aim of raising awareness of the loneliness many elderly people experience during Christmas.
Anyway, the main reason I’ve watched the John Lewis ad, is to make a comparison with the Sainsbury’s Christmas ad, which I watched with no coercion whatsoever: it was just on during an ad break between X Factor.
… and I still prefer the Sainsbury’s ad.
Because it has a bloomin’ cat in it…
… and I love cats…
… and the cat in the ad is animated, and has a cute, worried face…
… and that cat is Mog, the cat of millions of people’s childhoods, in the UK, from the famous books written by Judith Kerr (huge tick in the ‘nostalgia’ box)…
… and it’s a bit more upbeat, fun, and Christmassy, and doesn’t try to guilt-trip me into spending money with the store that’s advertising…
Here’s the ad in all its glory (the extended version):
There were two things I noticed, however.
The ad was a little long (even though I liked it), at three and a half minutes.
And… both myself and my good lady said exactly the same thing at the end, once the logo popped up;
‘What on earth has that got to do with Sainsbury’s?’
It’s true: Mog, cats in general, funny tale involving a cat… what’s the link?
You could just as easily have plonked any other major store’s logo at the end of that ad, and bolted it to the Mog story.
But, does it matter? I love it. Loads of other people seem to love it. It seems like it’s being talked about more than the John Lewis ad. It works.
Moral of the story: just add cats.