The John Lewis Christmas advert has become a major milestone in the festive calendar, and this year the UK department store premiered its video on YouTube and Facebook ahead of its TV premier.
The two-and-a-half minute ad called Excitable Edgar is the retailer’s first joint Christmas campaign with Waitrose.
The retailers declined to disclose the cost of the ad, saying that it was a “natural next step” in bringing the two brands together.
It was filmed in Budapest with an extras cast of around 100 people and is set to a recording of REO Speedwagon’s Can’t Fight This Feeling by Dan Smith from the band Bastille.
The ad’s creators, the adam&eveDDB agency, said they were struggling to come up with the “perfect ending” until the idea of involving Waitrose led to the Christmas pudding finale.
The ad follows the exploits of a young girl, Ava, and her friend Edgar, who is a dragon. It shows Edgar unable to contain his excitement as friends and family prepare for Christmas and unable to control his instinct to breathe fire.
Edgar locks himself away with guilt after ruining the villagers’ festivities.
But the story has a happy ending when Ava finally comes up with an idea of putting Edgar’s fire-breathing excitement to good use.
John Lewis customer director Craig Inglis said of the joint venture with Waitrose: “I’m delighted our two brands have come together for this year’s Christmas campaign.
“It started from a spark of an idea – a little dragon’s excitement about Christmas – and became the story of how someone goes the extra mile for their best friend to give just the right gift.
“It’s a funny, heart-warming story that will resonate with our customers as they seek out the perfect gifts for their loved ones this Christmas.”
The ad follows big-budget campaigns from retailers including Argos, Asda, Amazon, Ikea and Sainsbury’s, with more expected in the coming days.