John Lewis: Weep And You Weep At Maths

It’s that time of year when John Lewis returns to not simply tug at your heart-strings, but tighten them to such a degree they nearly snap and then pull at the with the force of a scramjet, thereby ripping them out of your chest cavity and leaving a trail of bloody viscera across your living room.

Here’s what I identified – and predicted 100% correctly – as the main ingredients for a John Lewis advert last year, followed with my assessment of this year’s effort.

• Animals – Check. This year it’s a penguin called Monty who has attracted his own hashtag, so simpering berks can tweet their soppiness to a disinterested nation.

• Sadness – Check. Monty is sad because he doesn’t have a mate. Probably because he’s a penguin living in Upper Forty-Five-Penceborough.

• Snow – Check. We see Monty and Sam (for that is the young lad’s name) larking around in some snow, probably filmed in August.

• Anthropomorphism – Check. We have a penguin behaving as if it were a human. And is actually a cuddly toy.

• Love – Check. Sam loves Monty. Monty wants to love another penguin, but can’t. Because he’s a penguin and therefore has no concept of emotions. Although he can, because he’s anthropomorphised. Sam gives Monty a mate – she is called Mabel. Both have their own Twitter profiles, for God’s sake.

• Nice visuals – Check. One million quid’s worth.

• A cover of a sad song – Check. Tom Odell weeping John Lennon’s Real Love.

You could set your clock by John Lewis adverts – not simply by when they turn up, but exactly what ingredients and in what order. It’s an equation, refined and reduced by lots of cash, but an equation nonetheless, designed as dispassionately and as calculatedly as engine mapping on a new car.

Weep and you weep at maths.

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