2 articles Tag John Lewis

Christmas Doesn’t Have to Cost the Moon

John Lewis advertThere’s no doubt that the John Lewis Christmas advert has become a bit of a yearly tradition, here in the UK and this years’ effort is no exception. They can be a little hit and miss for me; last year’s one with the penguins left me distinctly devoid of any warm fuzzy feelings and seemed like a bit of naked profiteering (no shock from a retail giant, to be fair) when a whole bunch of penguin merchandise hit the shelves. The 2015 advert, however, hit me right in the feels…until I learned how much it had cost to make.

According to a bunch of tweets that I saw earlier today, it cost £7 million to make the advert, which seems hugely excessive to me, especially given the fact that the advert seems to hinge on lonely elderly people at Christmas time. I couldn’t help but think that the money would have been better spent on a donation to a charity, such as Age Concern.

Fear not, though, because the clever folk at MyVoucherCodes have made a version of the advert for a fraction of the cost, with the message “Christmas Doesn’t Have to Cost the Moon“, which you can see below:

Okay, so the production levels aren’t quite up there with the John Lewis advert, but considering this one took 7 hours to make as opposed to 7 months, and cost just £700, you can’t really argue!

I was only thinking to myself yesterday that Christmas has become even more commercialised than ever lately. When I was a kid, we got an advent calendar on the 1st December, presents on Christmas Day and spent the next week entertaining ourselves with our new toys. Now, people are giving advent calendars full of Lego or books, kids are getting ‘Christmas Eve boxes’, full of pyjamas and hot chocolate, there’s Elf on the Shelf, not to mention the thousands of “Christmas Experiences” that parents seem to buy into and NEED to take their kids to.

I’ve seen ‘Meet Santa’ experiences advertised for our local farm, shopping centres, GARDEN centres and everything else in between, with some of them costing up to £100 for the privilege of chatting to an old guy in a Santa suit for 2 minutes. Call me cynical, but it just all seems to be getting a bit too much. The problem is though, no one wants to be the only one who didn’t give their child these experiences and memories each year, so we all buy into it for the sake of them.

The thing is, I love Christmas. It’s my favourite holiday and I adore getting to spend time with our family, but the preparations seem to need to start earlier and earlier each year so that you can have the “must have” gifts and get tickets to all the right places. And as much as I’d love to rail against it and say that we’re going back to a simpler format, I just can’t find it in me to say no.

What do you think? Has the whole thing gone a bit bonkers?Do you feel pressure to do all of these new-fangled Christmas traditions or are you brave enough to say no? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Well Played, John Lewis. Well Played…

On Thursday afternoon, I saw the new John Lewis Christmas advert. I was, it’s fair to say, pretty underwhelmed by the whole affair, especially after having seen so many people talking about how moving it was across social media. I mean, it’s cute enough and all that, but it didn’t make me feel in the least bit Christmassy, nor did it make me want to shed a tear like so many of my friends seem to have upon viewing it. I mentioned this fact on Facebook and inadvertently managed to surprise a lot of people who felt that my lack of enthusiasm meant that my heart must’ve been replaced by a swinging brick, but the whole thing just felt wrong to me.

This morning, I was browsing the internet and guess what? John Lewis has sold out of cuddly penguins featured in the advert.

John Lewis Penguins Monty and Mabel

I toddled over to the mobile site and found that not only were John Lewis selling cuddly penguins, including a huge one for just under £100, they were selling a whole bunch of ‘Monty the Penguin’ branded goods. MERCH ALL UP IN YOUR FACE. And you know the worst part? John Lewis has actually sold out of almost all of it. The hapless consumers have played right into their hands.

Now, I’m not naive enough to think that a company as huge as John Lewis would make an advert at Christmas, the busiest retail period of the whole year, just for shits and giggles; they’re trying to sell us stuff, plain and simple. But to me, creating a specific character, crafting an overly-sentimental advert around it and then merchandising the hell out of it, seems like a new low. I’m not even going to get started on the fact that people are buying a £95 cuddly toy.

The sudden lack of stock on their online store could be one of two things; either the British public really has lost its tiny mind and bought these exorbitant fluffy buggers in their thousands, or John Lewis is applying a bit of renegade marketing by only releasing a certain amount, thus creating a sell-out situation, and making demand for them go through the roof. What’s the betting we see people selling them on eBay, in early December, for hundreds of pounds to beleaguered parents whose kids want NOTHING but Monty the Penguin, only for John Lewis to miraculously find a mountain of stock right before the big day?

I know that for most, Christmas is not really a time of spirituality any more, and if you know me at all you’ll know that that’s really not my bag anyway, but I’m really nauseated by the blatant manipulation that John Lewis has employed in doing this and I certainly won’t be buying into it. It all seems so dreadfully cynical.

Have you bought any of the John Lewis Penguins or do you think the whole thing is madness? Let me know.