When the first couple of ads in a series are received extraordinarily well, it gets harder and harder to live up to the hype. Just ask W+K with Honda, or Fallong with Cadbury's.
I get the feeling from some of the comments that the latest John Lewis ad is suffering from this. After the fantastic 'Always a Woman' ad, and some other good pieces, this year's Christmas ad has a lot to live up to.
Lucky then, that the ad is absolutely brilliant. It shows beautifully the impatience of a child at Christmas, how their perspective on time changes. It's funny (the bit where it cuts to the nativity dress made me laugh out loud) and surely would make anyone smile and feel positive about the brand.
The nice little twist at the end is brilliant, and several people I know with kids said it made them cry. Those who know the unconditional love that kids have for their parents seem to get hit like a bullet at that moment; that the kid shares the joy of giving. But you don't need kids to be moved by this ad, you just have to be able to remember what it was like being a kid.
Despite some criticism I think the song is spot on. The cover fits the style used previously by John Lewis, and the words are totally apt. Who cares if it's a Smiths song? Clearly they were happy to let it be used so why should you care?
An ad that blazes a red hot trail right throught the traditional bright red stodgy promotional Christmas fare, and truly captures the spirit of the season for families everywhere. No artificial cheerful bollocks here, this is full on brand understanding of its audience and the people they are buying for.
Somewhere a brand manager asked 'Please please please let me get what I want'. Santa delivered.