News / Advertising

The John Lewis Christmas ad stars a flame-incontinent dragon, a singed tree and a shot at redemption

Adam-and-eve-ddb-dougal-wilson-excitable-edgar-john-lewis-advertising-itsnicethat-01

Adam & Eve/DDB and Dougal Wilson: Excitable Edgar for Lewis and Waitrose

Adam & Eve/DDB and Blink’s Dougal Wilson have created this year’s John Lewis Christmas campaign centred around a friendship between a young girl and a dragon. Called Excitable Edgar, the 2.5-minute spot (which you can watch below) follows Edgar the dragon as he haphazardly navigates Christmas celebrations in his village, singeing Christmas trees, melting snowmen and causing ice-skaters to plummet into freezing waters.

Luckily for Edgar and the villagers, a young girl called Ava recognises that the over-excited dragon doesn’t want to mess everything up. When Edgar barricades himself away to avoid more mishaps, she tempts him out for a redemptive role – lighting the Christmas pudding at the village’s grand feast.

Excitable Edgar’s director, Dougal Wilson, has previously made several of John Lewis’ Christmas ads, as well as directing campaigns for Ikea, Lurpak and Heinz, creating idents for Channel 4 and shooting music videos for the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Bat for Lashes, Basement Jaxx and Dizzee Rascal.

Filmed in Hungary, the 2019 ad is soundtracked by REO Speedwagon’s Can’t Fight This Feeling, sung by Bastille’s Dan Smith. The campaign will premier on social media today (14 November) and on ITV tomorrow and is the first joint Christmas campaign between John Lewis and Waitrose, which are part of the same partnership.

Speaking to Campaign magazine, Craig Inglis, partner and customer director at John Lewis, says: “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.”

Martin George, partner and customer director at Waitrose, adds: “The magic of friendship and making our loved ones feel special are some of the most wonderful things about this time of year. The Christmas pudding in the final scene is not just the showpiece of a spectacular feast which brings all the villagers together. It’s a reminder that a thoughtful gesture – whether that’s a delicious meal or a special gift – can mean so much.” 

John Lewis and Waitrose are both going ham on the Edgar merch, launching a plush toy, storybook Christmas pudding, kid’s pyjamas, Wellington boots, slippers, cupcakes, chocolates and gingerbread biscuits to coincide with the ad. According to Campaign, animations featuring Edgar will also pop up on ITV programming through December (taking over idents and the credits on shows like I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!) and a Snapchat lens and Twitter emoji featuring the dragon have also been launched.