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The one big problem with the John Lewis Christmas advert

This is an advert – but it doesn't have much in it that you can buy

Hazel Sheffield
Friday 06 November 2015 14:44
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John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015

By now you will have seen this year’s John Lewis advert, which by any measure is their most successful yet.

At lunchtime, #manonthemoon had already had 42,000 mentions on social media – tens of thousands more than last year’s Monty the Penguin had at the same stage, and the advert hadn’t even been on TV yet.

The science is a bit problematic. No one's going to last long without oxygen on the moon.

But this is a Christmas ad, after all. When PayPal dispensed with all the magic in their Christmas ad a week ago, hundreds of people complained to the Advertising Standards Agency.

The real big problem is that this is an advert – but it doesn't have much in it that you can buy.

Not unless you want a telescope priced at £99.95, while stocks last.

And John Lewis told us that the telescope the old man receives isn’t available to buy at all.

That’s because, apparently, unlike most advertising, the John Lewis Christmas campaigns aren’t used to directly sell products to the viewer. The department store is “not looking for someone to come into the store the following day,” according to marketing experts.

Thomas Brown, director of strategy and marketing at the Chartered Institute of Marketing says “it’s about having an emotional connection with the shopper to reinforce the brand, which can have a halo effect into the following year.”

Despite this unconventional method of, you know, not actually trying to sell anything, analysts think John Lewis made £18 million in revenue from sales of a stuffed Monty the Penguin off the back of last year’s advert. It’s hard to imagine they will beat that with sales of glow in the dark pyjamas. Especially as they are giving some profits from Man of the Moon paraphernalia to Age UK.

But they do avoid the social media backlash they got last year over sales of Monty the Penguin, stuffed versions of which were priced at £95 each.

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