John Lewis’s Touching Penguin Tale, And Lowe’s DIY Vines: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

Plus, taking real-time marketing down a peg, a Goldieblox action figure, and how Johnny Cash can really sell a Gap sweater.

John Lewis’s Touching Penguin Tale, And Lowe’s DIY Vines: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

A boy and his penguin. Once again, U.K. retailer John Lewis kicks off the holiday ad season with a emotional story that will deck the halls with your cryballs. Last year it was a bear and a hare, now we meet Monty the Penguin.


But Monty’s no fool–he may be just a penguin but he knows a thing or two about brand extension. Not only is he the star of this delightful spot, he’s also got his own book, merchandise, online and virtual reality experience, and his soundtrack on iTunes. That’s some yuletide synergy, right there.

Dry your eyes and read more about that campaign, as well as the rest of our picks for this week’s best in brand creativity.

John St. “Reactvertising”

What: A spoof video skewering the more absurd aspects of the real-time marketing trend.
Who: John St.
Why We Care: The agency has a knack for pointing out the ad industry’s more ridiculous side–see exFEARiential and Catvertising–and for self promotion. This latest, instant hit is no exception. Here it targets the stampede of brands scrambling for some semblance of instant relevancy, leeching on to events in news, entertainment, and sports as they happen, and substituting speed for strategy.


Gap “Gauntlet”

What: The lead spot of a series directed by Sofia Coppola for Gap’s holiday campaign.
Who: Gap, Wieden + Kennedy New York
Why We Care: The brand’s taken some heat for its Dress Normal campaign, but adds a new vibe to it for Gap’s annual holiday extravaganza. The good tunes and quirky characters in the spots add some cool to it all by dipping in to the weirdness of our annual family festivities. Some may see using Johnny Cash’s “I Got Stripes” to sell a sweater as commercial blasphemy, but it’s still ad soundtrack gold.

Lowe’s DIY Vines

What: A series of six-second DIY tips that make fun and informative use of the social platform.
Who: Lowe’s, BBDO New York
Why We Care: An successful sequel to the brand’s previously award-winning Vine work. While many marketers are still finding their feet in social video, Lowe’s has found a perfect use of the medium done in an informative and playful way that’s, crucially, relevant and true to the brand. Plus, walnuts and mayo, who knew?

John Lewis “Monty The Penguin”

What: A heartwarming holiday story of a boy and his penguin.
Who: John Lewis, adam&eveDDB
Why We Care: It’s become a holiday tradition to quietly weep at your desk while watching a Christmas ad for the U.K. retailer. Once again it’s time to grab a tissue, thanks to the manipulatively adorable Monty the Penguin. You know it’s kind of a big deal when it takes less than 24 hours for the spoof ad to arrive.


Goldieblox “Goldieblox vs The Big Sister Machine”

What:The upstart toy brand goes full “1984” to announce its new action figure.
Who: Goldieblox
Why We Care: It’s not perfect, but the spot is a clever play on challenging industry norms while continuing the brand’s (infamously controversial) reputation for music taste with Metric’s “Help I’m Alive.”


About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity.