John Lewis returns to ‘heartwarming’ Christmas ads with Moz the Monster

The retailer said it would look to “shake things up” after last year’s humorous Buster the Boxer ad, but has instead returned its focus to creating an ad that will pull on people’s heartstrings.

John Lewis has unveiled its annual Christmas campaign, which is focused around a little boy befriending a monster named Moz living under his bed.

The ‘Moz the Monster’ campaign, created by adam&eveDDB and Manning Gottlieb OMD, launches today (10 November) at 8am on John Lewis’s website, social media channels and in-store. The advert will be shown on TV this evening at around 9.30pm on Channel 4 and will also be broadcast on all of Sky’s own channels at the same time.

Set to a cover version of the Beatles’ ‘Golden Slumbers’ recorded by British band Elbow, the two-minute advert tells the story of a young boy called Joe who is kept awake by a seven-foot imaginary monster called Moz who lives under his bed.

The two form a friendship and play together every evening, but staying awake through the night starts to take its toll on Joe, who can hardly keep his eyes open during the day. For Christmas, Joe receives the gift of a night light which helps him sleep – but this does mean Moz disappears.

READ MORE: Mixed reviews – Marketers react to the 2017 John Lewis Christmas ad

As the ad comes to a close, however, Joe turns the light back off and hears the familiar rumblings of Moz, reminding himself that he can bring his friend back any time he thinks of him.

Earlier this year the retailer admitted its festive ads are “no long as groundbreaking” and suggested it could switch up its approach in 2017. However, if anything this year is a return to pulling on heartstrings and is similar in theme to Monty the Penguin.

“This year’s Christmas campaign brings to life the power of children’s imaginations and the joy of great friendships. Moz and Joe’s story is magical and heartwarming and I’m sure it will be loved by all of our customers, young and old,” says Craig Inglis, John Lewis’s customer director.

John Lewis Christmas ad campaign

As in previous years, John Lewis is hoping to tap into interest in its Christmas campaign with an array of merchandise. There is an accompanying children’s picture book, while the retailer will make a donation from the sale of Moz cuddly toys and mugs to charity partner Barnardo’s.

In addition to the ad, John Lewis will be bringing the campaign to life in a number of ways. A recording of actress Sally Phillips reading the Moz The Monster story will be available for download from its own website, Sky boxes, and Google’s smart home device Google Home. Google Home customers will be able to personalise the story by choosing their own sounds effects.

From a social perspective, the retailer is partnering with Facebook to offer consumers an artificial intelligence experience. People will be able to put a Moz filter over their face – similar to its Snapchat activity last year – and in 10 shops customers will be able to create their own monster selfie at a Monster Maker station and share the results on social media.

Meanwhile, at the John Lewis flagship shop on Oxford Street in London, visitors will be able to see and hear Moz playing in the rooms in Joe’s house.