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Why modern marketers aspire to create ads as widely parodied as John Lewis' #ManOnTheMoon

John Lewis is still capturing the lion share of attention and praise for its Christmas promotion around its advert ‘Man on the Moon’.

Not only has it already had 18 million views on YouTube, and we are still in November, but it has become such an icon that it has sparked numerous parodies including the telescope comparison ad by Aldi.

This is of course what modern marketers aspire to; the amplifying effect of media and attention to significantly enhance the visibility and value of the campaign. If you search the John Lewis ad on YouTube you find about a dozen parodies, some with very high production values, and some with nearly a million views.

John Lewis Parodies
Video of The John Lewis Christmas Ad 2015 [The Dark Side Version] - Star Wars parody by The Poke
The Poke
Video of John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015 #ManOnTheMoon Parody
The Wagon Comedy
Video of John Lewis Advert 2015 Parody: Man On The Moon
Charlie and David
Video of MOON MAN John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015 Parody - #ManOnTheMoon
The Moon

This shows the thought and true creativity of the John Lewis team who claim to think about the Christmas ad for a full 11 months before it happens. They make the ad different and iconic that means people engage with it.

It is devised in such a way that it can be cut to 30 seconds without losing the overall message and narrative. They have a multi-stage and multi-strand approach, including an app, merchandise, a charity campaign with Age UK and, even possibly more strangely, a teacher pack to take an imaginary trip to the moon.

The tagline ‘Show someone they are loved this Christmas’ again is simple but well thought out. While it is not overtly commercial, it will encourage people to put thought and possibly more money into their presents.

The other strength is that, although Aldi spoofed the John Lewis ad, it remains totally aligned with the thinking and the ethos of the ad and further enhances the John Lewis brand.

It might be due to the warmth the John Lewis brand receives in the UK, or the strength of the advert, but most of the spoofs are actually enhancing or using the positive aspect of the advert rather than trying to destroy the myth by undermining it.

Aldi positioned one product in its ad, the telescope. John Lewis on the other hand features dozens of toys, clothes and other products within the ad. It will be interesting to see if sales of these items increase as a result - further proof of the true power of the advertisement.

Jacques De Cock is a faculty member at London School of Marketing

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