Is this the best ad of all time?

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It’s not often we shout about advertising. After all, in our industry, there’s no contest between editorial and ‘paid for content’. However, every so often, an advert comes along which gets people talking and captures the mood of an entire
nation.

John Lewis’ Christmas advert, which aired during X Factor on Friday evening, did just that. Already, it has been dubbed ‘the best promotion of all time’ and clocked up over 620,000 YouTube hits. Its theme tune, a cover of The Smiths song Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want, is also on course for Christmas number one.

If you haven’t seen it (and I very much doubt that’s true), the advert follows a cute young boy who waits impatiently for Christmas. His eagerness, it transpires, is not because he wants to open his stash of presents, but simply
because he can’t wait to give a gift to his parents – cue the tears.

The ad had people on Twitter weeping into their iPhones on Friday night and was trending in the UK for nearly two days.

Maybe it’s the recession, but the ad taps in perfectly to the current zeitgeist of the nation – one that yearns for simple wholesome values, vintage nostalgia and a winsome family Christmas. Compared to the efforts of the other big retailers, it knocks the competition out of the water.

The ad is not without its detractors. Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker has said: “Anyone who wells up at that John Lewis ad is a monster” – and a mash-up the soundtrack of Stephen King’s The Shining has also been created. Still, it looks like John Lewis’ masterpiece is destined to be the advert, if not the soundtrack, of the season.