So what has the man in the moon got to do with Christmas?
Once again, the creative team (and it is a team, make no mistake) behind the annual John Lewis ad has come up with a winner.
First thing to note is that we all knew we would all be played like a virtuoso caressing a Stradivarius. We knew there would be a song re-worked by a relatively unknown artist. We knew there would be an assault on our emotions. We knew there would be a happy ending. And we knew it would give us permission to love Christmas all over again.
By going back to the basic building blocks of Christmas, the John Lewis team has created something that is different, yet the same. Christmas is all about story-telling – the nativity, the three wise men, Santa Claus, Rudolph and his reindeer – even Elf. It doesn’t matter what religion you are or what interpretation you place upon the tale, Christmas is all about telling stories of hope and wonder.
And so it is with the man in the moon. For centuries, man has looked to the moon and seen faces among the shapes of the landscape. As children, we had nursery rhymes about the man in the moon. Mr Men went to the moon. Night after night, I read my son a book about the man in the moon’s commute to work. We so wanted to believe there was a kindly old man living on the moon.
So John Lewis has found him. Or rather, the little girl – representing the child within us all – has found him. And she realizes he’s lonely. And they connect. And that equals hope and wonder.
The simplicity of the story is why it works – and the interpretation of the story via the video is the brilliance. Our heroine’s world is Technicolor. Bright coloured lights, and sunlight. Even when she first looks through the telescope, the dark night feels velvet soft lit with gentle light. The man on the moon’s world is starkly tinted in all shades of grey.
And then the parcel arrives powered by brightly coloured balloons – and it lights up the scene. The moonscape stays the same, but the video-makers make the whole scene glow with light and warmth using the reflection of the colours. Compare how the old man’s eye looked before he received his parcel to after – the editor has added warmth.
Video making is all about bringing together different skills to create something worth watching. The John Lewis Christmas 2015 ad demonstrates all the elements working together in perfect harmony to create something stunning. The right content – a simple, easy story that the target audience can relate to; the right cast – a picture perfect little girl and a stereotypically man in his third age. The images are clean with clear signposts to show both sides of the story (the different colour palette).
There was brilliance in the idea. But the real brilliance lies with the creative team of film makers, editors and musicians who give it life – definitely worth every penny of the reported £1m it cost to make.
Watch our review of the John Lewis Christmas Ad #ManOnTheMoon
Watch the full John Lewis Christmas Ad #ManOnTheMoon