It's a moment that, for better or worse, has come to mark something of a milestone in the festive countdown: the John Lewis Christmas advert 2017 is here. A two-minute emotional rollercoaster, accompanied by a slowed-down acoustic version of a classic tune and the niggling awareness that you are being manipulated for commercial gain.
This year's advert is tells the heartwarming tale of a young boy who befriends the noisy monster – Moz – who lives under his bed.
The 2017 campaign pulls out all the stops. Once again John Lewis has partnered with advertising and design agency adam&eveDDB (opens in new tab) and this year has also called in Academy award-winning screenwriter Michel Gondry, known for directing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, no less.
With music videos for the likes of Björk and Daft Punk also featuring on Gondry's CV, perhaps this particular director was intended to add a little edge to the year's commercial spot.
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As usual, there's also some notable special effects efforts. While the studio has gone back to basics with Moz, who has been brought to life in true Sesame Street style by two men in a monster suit (we like to think one was sat on the other's shoulders, but perhaps not). His facial expressions were later added with CGI and mo-cap technology.
The campaign is part of an advertising splurge from UK retail giant John Lewis, whose budget has risen by £140m to bring the total figure to almost £6bn in the last quarter of 2017, according to the Advertising Association. It marks a trend for businesses to go all-out in the festive season in a bid to make up for flagging profits.
Won-over viewers can pick up their own plush Moz toy from John Lewis stores (although the likeness between the advert version and the toy equivalent (opens in new tab) is not exactly uncanny) or share their thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #MozTheMonster (opens in new tab).
The advert is the latest in a long and effective run of Christmas collaborations between John Lewis and adam&eveDDB. Last year's advert CG showdown included Buster the Boxer bouncing on a trampoline with all his woodland friends, while in 2015 a lonely man on the moon made an unexpected friend in a young girl with a telescope.
It has also worked its magic on another major 2017 festive project – Virgin Atlantic's Where I Want for Christmas (opens in new tab). The clever campaign enables the airline to get in on the gift-giving game by offering a way for people to contribute to the cost of a flight for their loved one.
However, so far #MozTheMonster has garnered a mixed response, with viewers left disappointed and commenting on a muddled message (we agree with this one – why does it end with the boy losing his special friend?).
If you have any thoughts you'd like to share, let us know on Facebook (opens in new tab) or Twitter (opens in new tab).