John Lewis and Waitrose: Shrek puts on a dragon suit

john lewisWhat do you get when you combine an annoying dragon, a little girl, medieval village folk, snow, ice-skating and festive decorations? Why, it’s the first ever joint Christmas campaign from John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners of course.

Now, according to the blurb, “Excitable Edgar” is a 2 minute 30 second spot which tells the heartwarming story of a little girl and her friendship with an excitable young dragon, set to the song “Can’t fight this feeling” by REO Speedwagon which has been re-recorded by Bastille lead singer Dan Smith.

The story follows a little girl, Ava, and her dragon friend Edgar who manages to melt a snowman and an ice-rink and even set fire to the town’s Christmas decorations and tree.

Of course, in most medieval tales he would have been run out town – in some, he would even have met with a sticky end – but this is Christmas after all so Edgar shuts himself away just in case he cocks anything else up.

Ava then hatches a plan to bring back the love of the disgruntled villagers and presents him with a Christmas pudding, which he lights up during the village festive feast and it’s all smiles in the end of course.

Devised by Adam & Eve DDB, the ad has already launched on social media as well as on the John Lewis and Waitrose websites, with its first airing on TV scheduled for ITV’s The X Factor: Celebrity on Saturday.

Naturally it will be supported by in-store merchandise, including a cuddly Edgar toy, an Excitable Edgar storybook, pyjamas, Wellington boots and cupcakes. The products will appear in both Waitrose and John Lewis stores.

Waitrose & Partners customer director Martin George said: “The magic of friendship and making our loved ones feel special, are some of the most wonderful things about this time of year. The Christmas pudding in the final scene is not just the showpiece of a spectacular feast which brings all the villagers together. It’s a reminder that a thoughtful gesture – whether that’s a delicious meal or a special gift – can mean so much.”

Not to be outdone, his counterpart at John Lewis & Partners Craig Inglis added: “I’m delighted our two brands have come together for this year’s Christmas campaign. It started from a spark of an idea – a little dragon’s excitement about Christmas – and became the story of how someone goes the extra mile for their best friend to give just the right gift. It’s a funny, heart-warming story that will resonate with our customers as they seek out the perfect gifts for their loved ones this Christmas.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office? Was it worth the wait? Is it ever worth the wait? Is it a heart-warming tale or just Shrek in a dragon suit? Will everyone now be coming over “all Christmassy”?

Well, we’ll let you decide but as someone once said: “Don’t believe the hype!”. To be honest, it ticks all the usual John Lewis Partnership boxes and in a way that’s the part of the problem. It’s safe, formulaic Christmas puffery – but what were you expecting?

Decision Marketing Adometer 6 out of 10

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