If you’ve been paying any attention to advertising over the last few years, you know that the Christmas retail season doesn’t officially kick off until U.K. retailer John Lewis unveils its holiday commercial. It’s big, bold and typically tugs the heartstrings. This year is no exception.
In the spot by agency adam&eveDDB, we meet Monty the penguin. Or is it “pengwing“? Either way, he’s best friends with a little boy named Sam. As Tom Odell’s cover of John Lennon’s “Real Love” plays, we see the two do everything together. But it seems Monty has a need for a different sort of companionship. We won’t spoil it, but let’s just say Monty has one special Christmas wish. And before you can say, “Is that legal?” Sam proves to be the best kind of best friend.
Not to worry PETA-philes, Monty is all CG by MPC. The campaign also includes a 360-degree virtual reality experience, created by Stinkdigital, that uses Google Cardboard to give you the chance to join Monty and Sam on a Christmas adventure.
To make sure it really goes the distance, John Lewis has merchandise inspired by Monty, including a children’s book called Monty’s Christmas, and the audio app version of the book as well as the “Real Love” single will be available on iTunes. If that’s not enough of a Boy and Penguin adventure fix, check out Oliver Jeffers’s Lost & Found.