The Six Million Pound Ad

Earlier this week I saw the much hyped John Lewis Christmas advert, which reportedly cost £6m. The reason it was hyped up, aside from the ridiculous price tag was the fact that last year the company’s festive ad became a massive talking point because it divided public opinion.

For many it was a clever, sweet advert that was heartwarming and adorable. For people with working brains it was a painfully twee monstrosity featuring a sickeningly cute child, who goes right past cute into creepy and unnerving, and an ending reminiscent of Se7en (“What’s in the box?!”).

This year’s advert is almost as bad.

The idea is rather sweet, two kids make a snow-couple, before one of them goes walkabout to try and get a scarf for his snow girlfriend. The problem is the execution, which renders the sweet idea painfully dull, with the pacing completely wrong and making it seem forced, fake and unforgivably trite. You’re left looking at it thinking “Seriously? This is what six million quid gets you these days?”

The worst thing is that it follows one of my least favourite advert cliches of the moment, where the soundtrack is a classic, much loved song is covered by a whiny female singer. In this case it’s the Frankie Goes To Hollywood classic “The Power of Love”, which has been sapped of all its individuality and appeal, transformed into just another pretentious whine.

I’m not immune to ad men tugging at my heart strings, which I’ve written about before, and an earlier campaign from John  Lewis, featuring a lush Paloma Faith track really hit the mark with me, getting the tone right and managing to be a simple, well executed and romantic treat, which is made for a soft git like me.

Man, I’ve written a lot about John Lewis today. They should send me some vouchers or something.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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