So the new John Lewis is here. I know, I know, it’s cute, it tugs at the heartstrings, that little boy is adorable, and everyone loves a penguin.
Yes it is all so cute, so adorable, so lovely, and all so completely bloody cynical.
The ad is basically a sales tool for Monty the penguin merchandise. Nothing wrong with that you might say, ads are meant to sell product, and you would be right. What I think is very wrong is making a not very well-made stuffed penguin into a ‘must have’ gift and then selling it for £95, a staggering £185 if you want Monty’s practically identical girlfriend Mabel (both typically John Lewis names) so that the two of them can remain a couple.
Let’s not be fooled, this ad isn’t about love, or sentiment, or nice deeds at Christmas. It’s about grabbing as much money as possible for as little as possible. If you look carefully at the ad you’ll see all the John Lewis penguin products you could wish for. You are being manipulated, brainwashed to need these things.
Are people really this gullible? Apparently yes they are. John Lewis sold out of Monty toys within hours of the advert launch. Just who is so naïve to allow John Lewis to tug at their overly sentimental heartstrings in order to sell them such tat? Who would pay almost 100 quid for a toy that you could pick up for less than a fiver in any discount toy store?
Many people are saying that this ad is the best ad yet. Well, I guess it depends on your perspective, your definition of best, and if you don’t mind being taken for a bloody fool by a major store who should know better.
I can imagine grandmothers all over the county tutting as they blow a couple of weeks pension on these cuddly toys, but doing it anyway as little Ben, Grace, Charlie and Fleur will simply adore their very own Monty and his sweetheart. Yes, the little darlings really must have one, so the old dears will part with their money and then wander home to a cold flat that they can’t afford to heat.
But it doesn’t end with cuddly cloth penguins. The soft toy is only part of the Monty range. John Lewis has produced 39 pieces of Monty merchandise including umbrellas, onesies and cufflinks, which also sold out within hours along with those shabby Monty toys.
It seems the world is Monty mad. Well, mad anyway.
As for Sam, the rather strange seven year old boy in the ad, it seems to me that the poor boy needs help. It’s fine to believe that his penguin is real - an active imagination is a good thing - but his concern with his toy penguin’s love life is, well to be frank, a little unsettling. Not only is that penguin in need of a bloody good wash, but is it really normal for a seven year old to fixate on a penguin’s sexual needs?
This is boy who may grow up to seek love with a little too much passion, a boy that might become addicted to romance, or a stalker, a serial philanderer, a sex addict, maybe even something worse. He’s well on the way to becoming a voyeur as he watches the penguins make whoopee with that strangely over-interested smile on his face - and all because his parents spoilt him by buying him an overpriced stuffed rag penguin one Christmas.
Yes, there’s a moral in this: don’t pay £95 for a cheap cuddly toy, make an ass of yourself, and send John Lewis laughing all the way to the bank. If you do your child may grow up to be one of those weird people who hang around farmyards watching the chickens mate.