Monty: love him or hate him, you have to respect him

The John Lewis Christmas ad has occupied screeds of social and traditional media commentary in the last few days. Monty the Penguin seems to be garnering a lot of love and provoking some amusing and at times controversial discussion.

Whatever your personal feelings about the cuteness overload, it’s a very well executed campaign. When I found the ad on YouTube (as have 12m other people to date) watched it and clicked the link below, I was really impressed by the diverse opportunities for engagement on the supporting web page.

Of course there’s a shopping spree in the making. Much has been made of the fact that a giant-sized plush Monty will set you back £95 – but to be fair, the range of merchandise has wide appeal and starts at a much more wallet-friendly £3.00 for a pack of chocolates. I notice that many of the cheaper items are already out of stock! There’s also a free story mobile app (as well as an £8.99 book), web games, a twitter feed, support and info for penguin-related charities and an Antarctic themed in-store grotto and activities.

It’s all been carefully planned and beautifully executed to support John Lewis’ values, including choice, value, service, integrity and supporting the wellbeing of the community. The attention to detail in all the communications and infrastructure – not just the headline-grabbing advert – is what I really like.

I’m interested to note that there’s not been more fuss about the initiation of Christmas festivities in early November. Perhaps we’re all getting used to the fact that Christmas is big business and has an ever longer lead-time for both individuals and businesses. It may be a little early yet to start sending out those festive-themed mailers, for those of us not in the consumer retail business at least, but we can all learn from the flawless execution of John Lewis’ entire multimedia campaign.

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