John Lewis Christmas advert 2017: The secrets behind how its latest festive offering was made

The ad takes almost a year to come together

Rachel Hosie
Friday 10 November 2017 01:03 GMT
John Lewis Christmas Ad 2017

Arguably the most highly anticipated advert of the year, a lot is riding on John Lewis’ annual Christmas campaign.

For 2017, the retailer focuses on the friendly character of Moz The Monster, who lives under the bed of seven-year-old Joe and comes out at night when he can’t sleep.

Reaction to the advert has not been wholly positive though, with many viewers expressing disappointment after all the build-up, and some claiming they simply "don't get it."

The advert was created by advertising agency adam&eveDDB and was directed by Oscar-winning French director Michel Gondry, who is best known for his feature films Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep and The Green Hornet.

Gondry is also known for his work on music videos for Bjork, Daft Punk, the White Stripes and the Rolling Stones. This isn’t his first commercial - he’s the director behind one of the most awarded commercials of all time, Levis Drugstore, and has previously directed adverts for high profile brands such as Gap, Nike, Coca Cola, Pandora and Apple.

Expectations are certainly high when it comes to the John Lewis Christmas ad, and the idea all starts with the idea of “thoughtful gifting,” which John Lewis say is the seed behind all their adverts.

It’s a year in the making. Every January, the team review the previous advert. In February, adam&eve start brainstorming ideas, making sure whatever they settle on feels true to John Lewis.

Over five days in August, the latest advert was shot in West London - fortunately, the filming didn’t arouse too much suspicion locally and it was easy to keep secret. In October, the soundtrack was recorded in Elbow’s studio.

The whole project reportedly has a budget of £7m, but this has not been confirmed by John Lewis.

The protagonist of the film, Joe, is actually played by twin boys, who - along with Joe’s sister - are making their first TV appearances.

Moz is played by two men in a costume, which results in the slightly awkward movement of the character.

For Moz’s facial expressions, the production team used CGI.

John Lewis will be hoping viewers - and children in particular - fall in love with Moz and ask for their own monster under the tree this Christmas.

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