10 years of John Lewis Christmas ads – rated on how much they make us smile

(Posted on 11/11/20)

10 years of John Lewis Christmas ads – rated on how much they make us smile

Christmas is a key time in the retail calendar, with competition running high to secure spend from festive shoppers. Christmas advertising reinforces brand loyalty at this key buying time, and John Lewis has for many years monopolised the merry market with its emotive and engaging Christmas adverts. For many, the arrival of the John Lewis Christmas ad now heralds the start of the festive season.

With all of the current uncertainty around lockdowns, and this Christmas due to be unlike any we have ever experienced before, we thought we would take a look back on John Lewis ads from the past 10 years and see which ones made us smile the most, to spread some much-needed festive cheer:


Edgar the dragon (2019)

Poor over-enthusiastic Edgar the dragon, blundering in and wreaking well-meaning havoc whilst trying to join in with the fun of Christmas, but accidentally burning everything to a crisp, certainly makes us smile. The best moment comes with the emergence of Edgar at the town’s Christmas feast, and whilst the people all duck under the table in panic, Edgar whips out a surprise Christmas pudding and gently lights it, causing much celebration and plenty of smiles from us!



Elton John ‘piano man' (2018)

This John Lewis ad was a departure from its usual formula and there really wasn’t much to laugh at, except perhaps Elton John’s terrible pink wig!



Moz the Monster (2017)

Taking a childhood fear of the monster under the bed, and turning him into a child’s best friend, makes for an adorable ad. Moz scrambling to fit under the bed through a gap much too small for him, before the father comes in to see what all the noise was about, is a lovely moment.



Buster the boxer (2016)

This ad is a bit of a slow-burn in terms of laughs, but when the final joke is delivered, it packs a punch. When Buster the boxer comes flying in and steals that moment of bounding joy, we can’t help but smile! With the family standing shocked, the side view from behind the fence of the dog bouncing on the trampoline adds to the absurdity. Cue the perfect tag line ‘Gifts that everyone will love’, and this was the funniest ad John Lewis had produced to date.



Man on the Moon (2015)

A little girl’s discovery of a lonely man living on the moon is full of whimsy and imagination. Although the little girl’s initial attempts to contact the man on the moon fail, her buoyant balloon present which finally reaches him is joyous. While we love this ad, laughter is not the overriding reaction.



Monty the Penguin (2014)

A little boy’ best friend, who happens to be a penguin, couldn’t not be a fun ad. The fishfinger surreptitiously dangled over the table for the penguin to grab is perhaps the funniest moment.

We have awarded an extra point for the penguin being wobbled awake on Christmas morning, though for many of us, we are more likely to wobble the morning after our Christmas dinner.



The Bear and the Hare (2013)

The creation of this ad is stunning. If you haven’t seen the behind-the-scenes we highly recommend it! We love the bear and the hare’s joy at sharing the special day together. The chuckle for us is the hare’s present; an alarm clock which woke his hibernating friend in time for Christmas day.



The Journey (2012)

Although not especially funny, ‘The Journey’ is one of the cleverest ads John Lewis has produced. The way in which the snowman seems to ‘move’, with his poses and expressions revealing his determination, wonder, and awe as he traverses across rivers and mountains into the city to go Christmas shopping. And of course, what better present than to buy his snow lady? A beautiful matching set of gloves, hat, and scarf.



The Long Wait (2011)

Arguably, the defining ad which started John Lewis’ Christmas monopoly. The boy’s little huffs and sighs as the days drag through December are very cute and funny, as are his attempts to make time go faster, such as when he dons his home-made wizard’s cape and hat to ‘magic’ the clock. Anyone else getting lockdown vibes from this ad? Whilst this ad is a favourite, we can’t score it as highly as some of the later ads which were designed to be funny.



Your Song (2010)

One of the most fun and exciting things about Christmas is wrapping the perfect gift for our loved ones. This ad fully encapsulates that, with sweet moments of people stashing and wrapping toys and goodies. We loved the parents trying to smuggle the life-size pony toy up the stairs past their kids. It gets a low score as, sadly, it just fails to stand up against John Lewis’ later and much more interesting ads.



Our verdict:

  1. Monty the Penguin (2014) = 10/10
  2. Edgar the dragon (2019) = 9/10
  3. Buster the boxer (2016) = 8/10
  4. Moz the Monster (2017) = 7/10
  5. The Journey (2012) = 6/10
  6. The Long Wait (2011) = 5/10
  7. The Bear and the Hare (2013) = 4/10
  8. Man on the Moon (2015) = 3/10
  9. Your Song (2010) = 2/10
  10. Elton John ‘piano man' (2018) = 1/10


With rumours that this year’s ad will be based on acts of kindness, we can’t wait to see what the new 2020 John Lewis Christmas ad will be!