It’s not Christmas until John Lewis starts filling our screens with nostalgia - and this year, it hasn’t disappointed.
Serenaded by Tom Odell's cover of John Lennon's Real Love, a boy, Sam, realises his best friend, Monty the CGI penguin, is lonely. We won’t spoil the ending…
The ad’s themes for 2014? Childhood, friendship, penguins, growing up - and, er, the war between Google and Facebook.
The ad will first air on Saturday during the ad break on Gogglebox, but will also appear on John Lewis’ social media channels today. It’s come a long way: 2010’s ad got just 1,014 Twitter shares.
Something else is new this year: not only will you be able to buy fluffy Monty toys (not to mention umbrellas, onesies and Christmas cards) wherever you look, but in 41 John Lewis stores, he will even have his own grotto, aka Monty’s Den, an “Antarctic-themed space”.
And it turns out Monty is a secret tech nerd: part of the “experience” is “Monty’s Goggles”, which uses Cardboard, Google’s surprisingly low-tech aim at Facebook’s Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, using an app version of “Monty’s Christmas storybook”, narrated by Dermot O’Leary.
Craig Inglis, the retailer’s marketing director, said he hopes the ad will “remind people of the magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes”. Which is probably easier when they're strapping aforementioned magic to their faces...
Infographic - a short history of John Lewis' Christmas adverts (click to enlarge)