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Why the John Lewis Christmas advert is fundamentally flawed

john lewis christmas advert
(Image credit: John Lewis and Partners)

Hold on to your hankies, and get ready to unleash your opinions on the world, because the John Lewis Christmas advert is here. Except this year, it's actually the John Lewis and Partners, and Waitrose and Partners Christmas advert. Or just John Lewis and Waitrose. Either way, this year's Christmas tear-jerker features an accident-prone dragon called Excitable Edgar. 

The ad by Adam&Eve/DDB has already prompted plenty of hot debate, such as whether or not this particular dragon resembles Julia Donaldson's Zog the dragon (it doesn't), and whether this advert is too sad for children. But we are here to tell you that the premise of the whole advert is fundamentally flawed. If you haven't seen it yet, you can watch it below. 

For more inspiration, check out our roundup of the best print ads ever made, or explore our character design masterclass.

A quick plot synopsis for those who can't be bothered to watch, or were too overwhelmed with emotion to get to the end: Edgar the Dragon keeps setting fire to just about everything. It's hard to be a dragon around snowmen, it turns out, and ice rinks, and most festive celebrations. His friend, a red-haired girl, watches Excitable Edgar's failed attempts to fit in and wants to help him. 

In order to do so, she decides to camp out outside his house when he doesn't answer the door. It's unclear why camping is the way to help, but she stays outside for an entire night, even blowing out her lantern (why?! It's pitch black!) and still doesn't get anywhere. 

In the next shot, she's cooking bread when she has an idea. She takes Edgar to a festive banquet, where everyone initially hides when they see him, and then he presents a Christmas pudding and sets fire to it. People seem pleased. This is the end of the advert and the moment we are all supposedly supposed to be overcome with emotion and rush out to Waitrose to buy ingredients for a feast.

But really, we're just not convinced. This does not seem like a happy ending. Let's imagine that Edgar sits down and this fiery Christmas pudding is shared among the banquet guests. So far, so good. But then he tastes it, and enjoys it and snorts some more fire out of his nostrils. The banqueters didn't like that before. But it's Christmas, so they may be able to forgive him once. 

But then what if he wants to embark in a little bit of Secret Santa? And ends up setting fire to all the wrapping paper and in fact the whole table, which looks like it would go up in flames pretty quickly? We really think the year that the village invited Edgar the Dragon for dinner would probably go down in history as the absolute last time he would be invited. Or maybe even the last time there was a village left to celebrate in (too far?).

So this advert doesn't have a happy ending. Also (like most John Lewis Christmas adverts), it has absolutely nothing to do with John Lewis. Or really Waitrose. Except we imagine JL will be shifting a lot of stock of Edgar the Dragon. And there might be a small upswing in sales of Christmas puddings. And maybe matches.

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Rosie Hilder

Rosie Hilder is the deputy editor of Creative Bloq. Before joining the CB team in 2018, she worked on a range of print titles, including Time Out Buenos Aires, Computer Arts, 3D World, Paint & Draw and Mac|Life. Her interests lie in branding and illustration, tech and sexism, and plenty more in-between.