By Kelly O’Hanlon, Senior Lecturer in PR

The John Lewis ad has become a media event and almost has a blockbuster feel of anticipation each year – and today was no different.

Well versed in creating suspense and hype around the big reveal, John Lewis this year set about leaving a trail of breadcrumbs with a mysterious Twitter account appearing a while back and an image of monster eye circulating as the buzz began.

Today, the monster was let out of the bag and we were introduced to the new John Lewis £7m creation, #MozTheMonster. The tale has highs and lows, doing its best to raise a smile and provoke a tear as we have become accustomed too. The music, the bright eyed boy and the cuddly character all saw to that this time.

I had to watch the ad twice to really take it in and appreciate what this tale was about and how it was meant to feel. Upon first watching, I did feel a little disappointed and thought the ad was a little flat. We’ve been here before John Lewis; not just in the narrative style we have become accustomed to but in the ‘child and his imaginary friend’ scenario (remember Monty the penguin?). It also felt rather Disneyesque, and my son too saw a resemblance in story and tone to Monsters Inc.

Monty was the first time when John Lewis really turned the media event of their ad into a campaign which had PR legs and complete commodification; Monty cuddly toys sold out fast, such was the demand to buy the figure that reminded us of the true (commercial) meaning of Christmas. I’m sure that Moz will be just the same.

My son said he thought it was silly and fun, and it was. Even if we know what to expect, the anticipation is still exciting and for me, the reveal does tug in some familiar heartstrings as I can personally relate to the story theme. And that is, after all, the point.

There’s no doubt that this will be the topic of talk, debate and scrutiny and there is no doubt that John Lewis has a formula that works. It is the epitome of great advertising and promotion – make something relevant, make it work across platforms and make it memorable.

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