This year’s festive campaign tells the tale of an excitable dragon called Edgar who unintentionally sparks chaos as he strives to be accepted by his village.
The release of the advert confirms rumours that “Excitable Edgar” is the star of the new Christmas campaign, after eagle-eyed Twitter users spotted a 10-second teaser video circulating social media.
The hotly-anticipated release of Christmas adverts has become an annual cultural event, with numerous companies vying to raise the bar with campaigns that tug at the heartstrings.
John Lewis is widely regarded as the firm to beat when it comes to impactful Christmas marketing, with previous campaigns that quickly went viral including “The Long Wait”, “The Bear and The Hare” and “The Journey”.
However, this year John Lewis & Partners has shaken things up by collaborating with Waitrose & Partners to launch a joint Christmas advert for the very first time, introducing the world to Excitable Edgar.
Set in a fairy tale-esque medieval village to a cover of REO Speedwagon’s song “Can’t Fight This Feeling” by Bastille’s Dan Smith, the short film documents the heartwarming friendship between “Excitable Edgar” and a young girl called Ava as they and their community prepare for the festive period.
As is implied by his name, Edgar becomes easily excited whenever he sees anything remotely related to Christmas festivities.
However, when his excitement builds, he finds it increasingly difficult to prevent himself from breathing fire, which subsequently causes mayhem.
The advert follows Edgar and Ava as they attempt to partake in seasonal activities with the fellow residents of their village, without much success.
When the friends join a pair of children building a snowman, Edgar accidentally reduces the creation to a puddle when he tries to place a carrot on its head as its nose.
Later on when Edgar and Ava arrive at an ice skating rink, the dragon joyfully skids around the ice, inadvertently breathing fire and melting the entire structure, much to the other children’s dismay.
When the village gathers for the unveiling of their Christmas tree, Edgar has his mouth tied shut with a scarf in an effort to stop any kind of commotion from occurring.
Nonetheless, as the kind-hearted dragon feasts his eyes on the Christmas tree, fire is expelled from his ears, resulting in the whole tree catching on fire and being reduced to splinters.
Distraught, Edgar shuts himself in his home, leaving Ava disheartened as she tries to think of a way that she can show her friend how much she cares about him.
The innovative girl comes up with the perfect gift for the dragon, which they present together at a Christmas feast being attended by their neighbours.
When Edgar first walks into the room where the dinner is being held, the village residents appear afraid that the dragon is going to cause another fire.
Excitable Edgar puts their fears to rest when he unveils the Christmas pudding gifted to him by Ava and sets it alight, prompting cheers and applause.
Martin George, partner and customer director of Waitrose & Partners, explained that the Christmas pudding scene is a “reminder that a thoughtful gesture – whether that’s a delicious meal or a special gift – can mean so much”.
“The magic of friendship and making our loved ones feel special, are some of the most wonderful things about this time of year,” Mr George said.
Craig Inglis, partner and customer director of John Lewis & Partners, added that the tale of Excitable Edgar is a “story of how someone goes the extra mile for their best friend to give just the right gift”.
“It’s a funny, heartwarming story that will resonate with our customers as they seek out the perfect gifts for their loved ones this Christmas,” Mr Inglis stated.
The short film was created by communications agency adam&eveDDB, who created their first Christmas advert for John Lewis in 2009 with “Sweet Child O’ Mine”.
It was filmed over a two-week period in August in Budapest, Hungary, directed by Dougal Wilson with an extras cast of around 100 people.
A range of merchandise has been released to accompany the advert, including a £15 cuddly toy, a Waitrose 12 months matured Christmas pudding, children’s pyjamas, children’s slippers and gingerbread biscuits.
The main charity partner for this year’s joint John Lewis and Waitrose Christmas campaign is FareShare, a UK food poverty charity.
John Lewis and Waitrose are to donate £150,000 to FareShare, in addition to hosting and providing food and drink for up to 50 Christmas meals across the UK for hundreds of people who support the charitable organisation.
While John Lewis and Waitrose decided to work on their first joint Christmas advert at the very beginning of the year, this isn’t the first time their festive campaigns have been connected.
However, the parents appear more excited by the prospect of stollen, with the father admitting that his favourite John Lewis Christmas advert is “the one with the penguin”.
Earlier this year, it was reported that falling sales and surging costs had plunged John Lewis into a £25.9m loss in the first half of its financial year.
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