John Lewis’ “Monty’s Christmas” Campaign Goes Viral

John Lewis Monty's Christmas Campaign

John Lewis’ 2014 £1m Christmas advertising campaign has gone viral, with 15.8 million views on YouTube in the first 12 days.

The campaign  evokes the magic of make-believe at Christmas through a child’s eyes. Set to the track ‘Real Love’, sung by Tom Odell and originally written and recorded by John Lennon, the heartwarming advert tells the tale of an unlikely friendship between a little boy, Sam, and his penguin friend, Monty.

Monty and Sam do everything together and the advert follows them playing happily through the year, from hide and seek to football. However, as the winter months draw in, Sam begins to notice that Monty is sad and realises that he is longing for a companion. Knowing his friend so well, on Christmas Day Sam gives Monty the gift he has been dreaming of – a new penguin friend called Mabel.

Featuring the strapline ‘Give someone the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of’, Monty and Mabel have been created using complex CGI technology to look and behave exactly like real life Adélie penguins.

The advert launched on the retailer’s social media channels on 6 November and was then feature on TV for the first time the following day during the first advert break in Gogglebox on Channel 4. This follows a teaser campaign using #MontyThePenguin, on digital outdoor advertising sites and on Channel 4, where the broadcaster’s iconic ‘idents’ have been transformed to feature Monty.

In partnership with Samsung, Monty’s Den uses a series of technology-firsts to harness the power of children’s imagination.

Craig Inglis, Marketing Director at John Lewis, said, “At John Lewis, this time of year is all about helping our customers create their dream Christmas. We hope this uplifting tale of Sam’s love for his friend Monty will remind people of the magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes and inspire them to think how they can make the festive season extra special for their friends and loved ones.”

This message will be amplified beyond the TV campaign through an in-store space called Monty’s Den. In partnership with Samsung, Monty’s Den uses a series of technology-firsts to harness the power of children’s imagination. This includes ‘Monty’s Magical Toy Machine’ which enables children to bring their favourite toys to life through innovative Microsoft technology and ‘Monty’s Goggles’, which use Google Cardboard to allow children to enter a 360o virtual world and interact with Sam and Monty. During the campaign, children will also be able to create their very own Monty Christmas card on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S.

Merchandise inspired by Monty and Mabel will also be available, including a children’s book called ‘Monty’s Christmas’ of which a proportion of the proceeds will go to Barnardo’s, John Lewis’s 150th anniversary charity. An audio app version of the book narrated by Dermot O’Leary is also available on iTunes, along with the ‘Real Love’ single by Tom Odell.

Craig Inglis, Marketing Director of John Lewis added, “We hope our customers will love Monty and Mabel and they will have more chances than ever to interact with them through some genuinely exciting technology firsts.”

Monty’s Christmas was created by advertising agency Adam&Eve/DDB and the Channel 4 teaser campaign by 4Creative and MPC.

The campaign with media planning and buying by Manning Gottlieb OMD began with a 120 second TV advert on 7 November and is supported by a combination of three shorter versions for six weeks. The advert cost £1m to make and is part of John Lewis’s overall £7m investment in its Christmas campaign.