This year’s much-anticipated John Lewis Christmas advert starring a well-meaning dragon called Edgar has been revealed.
It marks the first time the company has joined with sister brand Waitrose for a festive commercial, and it will run on their social media channels – and on MailOnline – from 6am.
After a mixed response to last year’s advert, which featured Elton John and charted his rise from childhood, the new commercial seems to be a return to formula.
It tells the story of Edgar the baby dragon who loves Christmas but can’t control his fire breathing, often with disastrous and destructive consequences.
The John Lewis Christmas advert, Excitable Edgar, features a baby dragon in a historical village
Edgar almost burns a carrot in the advert. The adorable dragon struggles to control his fire breathing and is worried he’ll ruin Christmas
Edgar looks guilty and looks around in distress after he accidentally melts a snowman with his fire breath
The baby dragon loves Christmas but can’t control his fire breathing and so hides away from the village
This year’s ad seems to be a return to the theme of previous ones, after last year’s featured Elton John and his life
It follows Edgar as his excitement about festivities in his village sees him accidentally melt the ice-rink, reduce a snowman to a puddle and set fire to a Christmas tree.
Edgar finally shuts himself away in despair, but his friend Ava encourages him to rejoin the village with the gift of a Christmas pudding, which allows him to put his fire to perfect use.
The ad’s creators said they were struggling to come up with the ‘perfect ending’ until the idea of involving Waitrose led to the Christmas pudding finale.
As in previous years, the ad encourages engagement with a good cause. This year it is food poverty charity FareShare, with ‘feasts’ to be held in John Lewis shops and community venues ahead of Christmas.
A full range of Edgar merchandise is available, including a £15 cuddly toy, a Waitrose & Partners No.1 12 Months Matured Christmas Pudding for £8, as well as Waitrose Edgar cupcakes, ‘Chocolate Edgars’ and a £1.50 gingerbread biscuit.
John Lewis customer director Craig Inglis said: ‘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.’
Edgar is worried that he will ruin the big day so hides away from the villagers, who have been victims of his out-of-control fire breathing
His red-headed friend Ava to come to the rescue and manages to find a way Edgar can join in with the festivities
Ava comes up with the perfect idea to make sure Edgar can also join in with the villagers on Christmas
Not much is known about the actress who plays Ava but she is ten years old and comes from Scotland
The advert has a happy ending for Edgar the well-meaning dragon and the villagers, thanks to Ava’s help
Partners John Lewis and Waitrose have the first opportunity to share the ad across their social media channels from 6am on Thursday, and it first airs on television during ITV’s The X Factor on Saturday November 16.
The retailers declined to put a price on the ad, created once again by the adam&eveDDB agency, only saying that it was a ‘natural next step’ in bringing the two brands together.
Previous John Lewis Christmas campaigns have involved budgets of around £1 million on putting each ad together and another £6 million on placement.
John Lewis’s ad follows big-budget campaigns from retailers including Argos, Asda, Amazon, Ikea and Sainsbury’s, with more expected to follow over the weekend.
Music is a key part of the John Lewis advert and this year the soundtrack will feature a version of the 1980s power ballad Can’t Fight This Feeling, recorded by Dan Smith of the band Bastille.
This year’s ad was filmed over two weeks in Budapest with an extras cast of around 100 people.
Remember these? Moz the monster, Bouncing Buster, the Man on the Moon, Montie the penguin and a star turn from Sir Elton John – EVERY past John Lewis Christmas advert
The eagerly-awaited John Lewis Christmas commercial has become something of a festive tradition.
Every year, fans gather in front of their TVs to watch the latest offering, before sharing it with their friends and family and – in recent years – broadcasting their opinions online.
The John Lewis ads started in 2007 and here you can revisit every single one.
2018 – The Boy And The Piano
An emotional Sir Elton John was the star of the 2018 John Lewis Christmas advert, which told the uplifting and poignant story of his rise to superstardom sparked with the gift of music
The retailer ended a decade of heart-warming tearjerkers featuring loveable animals and charming children last year when it featured Sir Elton John in its Christmas ad.
It charted the singer’s rise from humble beginnings to fame and fortune.
The mini-biopic, set to his 1970 hit Your Song, showed how one present can change a life and ended with a four-year-old Elton unwrapping his first piano on Christmas Day in 1951.
The £7million advert then cutsto the emotional 71-year-old playing the same instrument while thinking about his mother Sheila, who died in 2017 aged 92, followed by the slogan: ‘Some gifts are more than just a gift’.
However, it was panned by some who thought that it focused more on the singer than on Christmas.
Some fans were also disappointed that cuddly stars such as Montie the penguin and Moz the monster were jettisoned for a celebrity-endorsed campaign.
2017 – Moz The Monster
2017’s effort featured the story of a boy who befriends the monster under his bed, with the music a cover of The Beatles’ Golden Slumbers by rock band Elbow.
It left viewers in tears over the mischievous and flatulent monster called Moz and his relationship with a seven-year-old soulmate – with fans comparing it to Disney’s much-loved Monsters Inc.
The giant furry monster with a bulbous nose, wonky teeth and a love of snoring, jumped out from under the bed every night to play with companion Joe in a festive tale making many laugh and cry.
The little boy, aged 7, who is played by young twin brothers from London named Ethan and Tobias, is initially frightened after seeing a pair of enormous eyes peering from the dark under his bed.
But the two unlikely friends are shown sharing games, playing piggyback and Scalextric in his bedroom – all without mum, dad, or older sister finding out.
2016 – Buster The Boxer
Buster the Boxer and his trampoline antics was the star of the 2016 edition.
John Lewis said the advert where the dog, played by five-year-old Biff, beats a young girl to her new toy was their attempt to cheer up Britain after a ‘tough year’.
The advert told the story of a little girl called Bridget who loves to jump.
Set to a cover version of ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’, her mother and father buy her a trampoline, toiling while she sleeps to build it before hiding it in the garden to surprise her with on Christmas Day. As the snow falls an array of animals start using it as the Boxer watches forlornly through the window.
The next morning Bridget sprints out to use it for the first time but her joy turns to shock as cheeky Buster has the last laugh and uses her new toy before her.
2015 – Man On The Moon
In 2015, a lonely Man on the Moon is shown to viewers sitting by himself on a bench, completely unaware that he is being observed by the youngster back down on Earth
The elderly man, played by a 77-year-old French actor called Jean, gazes up wistfully towards the Earth, as the Oasis song Half The World Away, performed by 19-year-old Norwegian singer Aurora plays mournfully in the background.
She tries desperately to send him a message but all her efforts fail, while he remains unaware that anyone cares about him and sits alone on a bench, wistfully staring up at the Earth.
Eventually, on Christmas morning, a present arrives from the sky, carried by party balloons, and the old man unwraps it to reveal a vintage telescope.
He uses it to spot Lily and, realising that someone cares about him, his eyes fill with tears.
2014 – Monty The Penguin
In 2014, John Lewis hoped the bond between a boy and a penguin would capture the public’s imagination.
The two-minute festive commercial told the story of seven-year-old Sam, played by actor Rhys Edwards from Hertfordshire, and his friend Monty.
The boy gradually realises Monty is longing for a penguin companion. And so on Christmas morning Sam surprises Monty with the gift of a new penguin friend named Mabel.
The soundtrack was John Lennon’s song Real Love, performed by Tom Odell.
2013 – The Bear And The Hare
In 2013, the £7million Disney-inspired advert told the story of a selfless hare who is determined to make sure his best friend, a bear, doesn’t miss Christmas for once.
The commercial features the tale of two good friends, a bear and a hare, who are sad at the thought of being separated for Christmas.
The tale opens as winter is starting to draw in and the fun and excitement of preparing for Christmas begins.
As the first snowflake falls and lands on the bear’s nose, the hare starts to feel sad because he realises his friend will soon go off to hibernate, so – as usual – missing Christmas.
While the bear is keen to join in, eventually he finds he cannot hold off his winter sleep any longer and disappears into his cave.
Viewers see the bear fast asleep while all the other woodland creatures become excited about the big day to come.
However, the hare is missing his friend and finds it increasingly difficult to join in the preparations until the moment he has a great idea for a very special present.
He disappears off in to the wilderness to return with the gift – an alarm clock – which wakes the bear just in time to gather around a beautifully decorated tree to celebrate with all his friends.
2012 – The Journey
The Christmas ad from 2012, called The Journey, shows the extraordinary lengths to which some will go in their search for a gift for someone they love.
The 90-second commercial opens in a family’s snow-covered garden, with children happily making a snowman and snowwoman.
When the snowman mysteriously disappears the next morning, the viewer is transported to a magical world, following him on an epic journey across river, mountain, road and city.
The motive for the snowman’s secret journey isn’t revealed until the last scene, when he returns on Christmas morning with gifts for his wife.
Gabrielle Aplin sings The Power Of Love, the 1984 hit from Frankie Goes To Hollywood, as the soundtrack.
2011 – The Long Wait
In 2011, the John Lewis advert showed a young boy desperately excited about Christmas.
He eagerly counts down the days to December 25 with viewers left to imagine he is looking forward to getting presents.
However, it is revealed at the end that he actually couldn’t wait to give presents to his parents.
It was accompanied by a cover of The Smiths’ Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’.
2010 – A Tribute To Givers
The 2010 offering saw individuals choosing and wrapping their presents in the lead up to the big day, as Ellie Goulding sings a cover of Elton John’s Your Song.
Various people furtively hide the presents they’ve carefully chosen.
Parents sneak a rocking horse upstairs while their children’s backs are turned; a mechanic struggles to wrap a spotted teapot; and a small boy braves the snow in his dressing gown to hang a stocking outside his dog’s kennel.
2009 – Sweet Child O’ Mine
2009 was the first of the store’s Christmas campaigns created by advertising agency Adam & Eve.
It was also the first to feature a musical cover by a current artist, on this occasion a Taken By Trees version of Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses.
The ad shows children opening gifts for adults including a laptop, coffee machine and handbag.
It’s followed by the tagline: ‘Remember how Christmas used to feel? Give someone that feeling.’
2008 – From Me To You
Culminating in the tagline: ‘If you know the person, you’ll find the present,’ the 2008 version shows a succession of characters followed by a matching gift.
The soundtrack is a cover of The Beatles’ From Me To You recorded for the campaign.
It included vocals by Matt Spinner, a member of the John Lewis IT department and its music society.
2007 – Shadows
The first John Lewis Christmas ad shows a group of people stacking a pile of potential gifts including a desktop lamp, a computer and a leather satchel in an empty room.
The finished product ends up creating a shadow that looks like a woman walking her dog through the snow.
It is accompanied by the tagline: ‘Whoever you’re looking for this Christmas.’