Shortly after the advertising guru Edward Bernays realised that the best way to sell stuff to people was to make them cry, John Lewis began creating tear-jerking seasonal advertisements to upend us and make us leak tears and money. We're such suckers. It's only a matter of time before ad executives just run up to us on the street, kick us in the groins and shout, "CHRISTMAS AT JOHN LEWIS, YOU STUPID FOOLS."
That might work too. "Here, take my money," I'll gasp as I lie weeping in the foetal position, clutching my wallet, before realising, once again, that there are no John Lewis shops in Ireland and just throw it into the gutter instead.
It's hard to tell what Edgar adds to their relationship, to be honest with you, but the little girl is a martyr to his dysfunction nonetheless. That's the patriarchy for you
This year's John Lewis & Partners (and Waitrose & Partners) ad is set in an icy medieval past, or possibly a snowy post-climate-change future, in which a small girl in a town with a king has befriended a small, stubby-limbed fire-breathing dragon named Edgar. "Ah, feudalism!" say the nostalgia-prone people of Britain. "Yum!"
The people of this town seem happy enough, despite the inevitable horrible diseases and high death rate that afflict people in medieval societies, and they spend their time making snowfolk and ice-skating. They do this gracefully, despite their rickets.
Edgar is a pain in the hoop, however, and overexcitedly breathes fire hither and yon. The little girl repeatedly attempts to get Edgar to calm the f*** down, but he nonetheless manages to use his fire breath to accidentally melt a snowman, to nearly drown some ice-skating children in a once-frozen lake and incinerate the town’s Christmas tree. It’s hard to tell what Edgar adds to their relationship, to be honest with you, but the little girl is a martyr to his dysfunction nonetheless. That’s the patriarchy for you.
Everyone is fierce put out by Edgar’s shenanigans, although they should probably also be focusing on the poor infrastructure and dubious political system in which they live. Eventually, however, the little girl realises that Edgar’s fire breath might have some practical applications. (That nobody has thought of this before says something about their usual non-John Lewis peasant diets.) She has him set fire to a Christmas pudding in front of the whole town. Everyone is happy, and gaffe-prone Edgar is on his way to becoming a dangerous adult dragon who accidentally kills someone and/or prime minister.
This advertisement did not make me cry and I did not start throwing money at my television screen. Next year I suggest they hire me. I frequently make people cry
Meanwhile, over the top of it all, Dan Smith from Bastille sings an anaemic, anglicised version of REO Speedwagon's power ballad Can't Fight This Feeling, because, thanks to Brexit, the English can no longer hear anything that isn't in an estuary accent.
This advertisement did not make me cry and I did not start throwing money at my television screen. Next year I suggest they go with my suggestion in paragraph one. Or hire me. I frequently make people cry. I’m no fun at all.