John Lewis' Christmas monster is another winning emotional cocktail

Unruly applauds John Lewis for once again showing it understands emotional advertising in with this year's Christmas ad, "Moz the Monster"

"With this bittersweet story about putting away childish things, John Lewis once again show they understand emotional advertising as well as any brand"


9 / 10

At long last it’s here. While every brand under the sun will offer its take on the quintessential Christmas ad in the coming weeks, John Lewis is the one everyone looks forward to.

There’s a couple of good reasons for this. Firstly, track record: starting with "The bear and the hare" in 2013, the brand has managed to hold on to the coveted most-shared ad spot nearly every Christmas. Last year’s "Buster The Boxer" was the most shared ad of 2016.

Secondly, John Lewis is a stickler for quality. Though its ads never follow precisely the same formula, apart from the inevitable conclusion of some kind of cute creature, the retailer’s ads never fail to hit the same sweet spot of fuzzy warmth and family-friendly humour. Such is the anticipation that has risen up around the release that a cottage industry of fake John Lewis ads has risen to take advantage of fans’ excitement. Which brings us to the latest in John Lewis creations: Moz The Monster.

In a bedroom lined with crayon drawings of various imaginary creatures, a little boy is unable to sleep. Investigating the strange noise coming from beneath his bed, he discovers a giant, snoring monster curled up under the mattress. The eponymous Moz – who looks like he’s stumbled out of Monsters Inc. or My Neighbour Totoro – is such a dreadful roommate that our hero’s insomnia continues, even after he tries plugging his ears with stuffed toys. 

 #MozTheMonster provides that perfect cocktail of nostalgia, adventure and friendship that makes viewers want to return again and again, even as it makes them reach for the tissues

Despite their odd-couple introduction, Moz and the boy slowly become the best of friends. Spending their evenings bouncing around the room, playing board games and hiding from the boy’s parents, he starts to spend more time up at night than before. As a result, the little boy begins falling asleep during the day. While playing goalkeeper at school, he lets an easy shot go past because he’s practically unconscious on his feet.

Moz decides to do something about this and leaves the boy a special present under the Christmas tree: a starry night light. With this gift, the boy is finally able to sleep at night and, when he looks under the bed for his monstrous friend, Moz is no longer there. Cue the sound of children and adults alike weeping across the country.

With this bittersweet story about putting away childish things, John Lewis once again shows it understands emotional advertising as well as any brand. #MozTheMonster provides that perfect cocktail of nostalgia, adventure and friendship that makes viewers want to return again and again, even as it makes them reach for the tissues.

It also doesn’t hurt that they’ve plumped for another easily identifiable character, à la Buster The Boxer or Monty The Penguin.

Though there are never any foregone conclusions in the race for Christmas ad success, John Lewis has put in an strong showing by betting on a simple, sweet, sad story.