World’s best ads ever #43: ‘Monty the Penguin’ becomes John Lewis’s most iconic Christmas spot
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After 15 years of Christmas campaigns, John Lewis has a few stand-outs that could be considered for a list of best ads of all time. And according to readers of The Drum, ‘Monty the Penguin’ is chief among them.
The retailer’s 2014 ad was a cut above the rest – not just for its creativity but for being a ground-breaking integrated marketing campaign that delivered recording-breaking results.
The two-minute film from long-term Christmas ad collaborator Adam&Eve DDB told the story of an unlikely friendship between a boy, Sam, and his best friend Monty, a penguin.
Monty, while happy with Sam, is lonely and looking for a penguin girlfriend, which Sam then gifts him for Christmas. A cover of John Lennon’s Real Love by Tom Odell backs the ad.
‘Monty the Penguin’ helped propel John Lewis’s 2014 Christmas sales up 5.5% year-on-year (YoY) versus a market increase of 1.5%. Away from financial results, the ad generated over 350m impressions over the Christmas period, up 320% YoY, while Odell’s Real Love track reached number three in the charts.
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To boost the anticipation for the ad, John Lewis tasked Channel 4 and Adam&EveDDB to produce an in-house teaser for the campaign featuring Monty riding a London bus through Oxford Street. The trailer pushed audiences to watch the film’s release during an episode of Googlebox. The ad racked up 1.8m YouTube views on its first day, suggesting its teaser campaign delivered on its ambition.
To accompany the TV ad, John Lewis went big on experiential, partnering with media agency Manning Gottlieb OMD to execute a seven-week integrated campaign. In its stores, John Lewis added Antarctic-themed areas and created VR content via Google Cardboard, as well as an app edition of the children’s book ‘Monty’s Christmas Storybook’.
Along with selling Monty stuffed toys, John Lewis marketed onesies, slippers, Christmas tableware and sold copies of Tom Odell’s cover track.
The ad not only pushed sales of John Lewis Monty toys, but eBay reported a 300% increase in penguin toys in general across its site.