Hands up anyone who was holding out for a telescope this Christmas. Nope? Well you probably haven’t yet seen the latest heart-melting, moon-themed, and perfectly poignant Christmas ad from John Lewis.
‘Man on the Moon’ features a young girl Lily, who spends much of her time staring through a telescope (obviously available to buy in store), wistfully watching a lonely old man who happens to live on the moon. After many hopeless attempts to contact the man, including letters, paper aeroplanes and an adorable homemade bow and arrow, all seems lost…
Until Christmas day, when a gift-wrapped parcel arrives on the faraway planet. Attached to some helium balloons, it floats towards the old man, as he sits in melancholy on his lonely moon bench. It is a telescope from little Lily, and as he looks back towards Earth, the pair wave to one another and make eye contact, and the old man sheds just one solitary tear.
And the nation sheds thousands. In the beautifully-shot short, John Lewis delivers its tried-and-tested TV formula. The story is centred on cute, precocious kids and set in a tastefully-decorated, inviting home. The ad’s soundtrack is an ethereal, pared-down cover of a popular song (this year Half the World Away by Oasis, breathily sung by Aurora, a 19-year-old Norwegian singer) and a powerful absence of dialogue.
The touching two-minute film is archetypal of the ads we’ve all come to know and love, with its focus firmly on giving gifts, rather than receiving. It’s apparent that this theme of generosity, as well as unconditional love and friendship, is now the sentiment behind every John Lewis integrated marketing campaign that arrives around Christmas time.
For many, the run-up to Christmas begins with the John Lewis Christmas ad. A survey for the Independent shows that 2013’s uplifting animation ‘The Bear and The Hare’ takes the top spot as viewers’ favourite, with 2011’s ‘The Long Wait’ is currently sitting at second – remember the lovely little boy who just couldn’t wait to give his gift? Last year’s delightful Monty the Penguin comes in a close third – but whichever your choice, it’s safe to say that these ads are now as iconic as they are heart-warming.
This year, John Lewis is taking it one small step further – or really one giant leap – as the campaign is fully integrated across multiple channels. Not only is the #ManOnTheMoon tugging our heartstrings on the telly, there’s a supporting social media campaign and extensive PR and merchandising behind the ad. John Lewis are also offering a huge range of ‘Man on the Moon’ themed goodies for sale in store and online, including glow in the dark pyjamas and mugs. There are also interactive posters, which digitally link to features within the ‘Man on the Moon’ app, available on the iPad and iPhone – if you haven’t seen him yet, it really won’t be long.
Profits from three of the products – a gift tag, mug and a card – will go to charity Age UK. The ad’s strapline “Show someone they’re loved this Christmas” echoes that of the Age UK campaign, “No one should have no one at Christmas”, reiterating all of the feel-good festive vibes that we really should be spreading at this time of year.
The brand also has plans for a pop-up moon installation in its flagship Oxford Street store, with further interactive displays in 11 John Lewis stores around the country, where fans can get their photo taken on the old man’s bench from the ad. There will also be ‘lunar lookouts’ in store, alongside a range of educational materials designed to teach children about the moon.
The entire integrated marketing campaign has cost John Lewis around £7 million – approximately the same as last year. Although the telescope is available to buy, the advert is festively-free of too much ‘product-push’, despite estimated sales of stuffed Monty toys earning John Lewis £18 million in revenue over the duration of that particular campaign.
You’d have to be a serious-level Scrooge not to enjoy these magical marketing campaigns from the experts at John Lewis. As industry-insiders, we tip our hats to the team behind them, as they really-do do the job. After watching ‘The Man on The Moon’, we feel uplifted, inspired and charitable, and are eagerly awaiting the festive season.
Plus, that telescope will look terrific next to my Monty the Penguin.