In case you haven’t seen them yet – there’s an early Christmas battle going on between M&S and John Lewis for who can produce the best festive advert. I say ‘battle’ but it’s been won hands down by John Lewis for this wonderful, charming story. In case you haven’t seen the M&S one, have a look, if you dare, here. It’s basically, everything that was quite clever and well executed in the collective ‘Perfect Day’ remake for Children in Need, but made bloody horrible by using the X Factor contestants. Honestly, it’s just unpleasantly “"sixth-form-project”.

One key element here, in tapping into the Christmas market, is getting the tone, sentiment, and festive spirit *just right*. What underpins all of this is the soundtrack – get that wrong, and you’re on the back foot from the off.

John Lewis have used a wonderful, understated and elegant remake of the Smiths’ classic ‘Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’, evoking an emotional feeling in those watching it, and – if initial reaction if to be considered – making is a success and something people are sharing across social media.

The M&S advert however, has a clumsy, hard on the ears and downright unlistenable cocktail of different vocals, vocal styles, and most importantly vocal abilities. Say what you like about Frankie being apparently quite rock ‘n’ roll and meaning well, but let’s be honest, that guy CANNOT sing. He just doesn’t suit ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’.

The soundtrack is the key to associating emotion and sentiment in the brain – if you have that fixed in, the advert is memorable for the right reasons and something people want to share and comment on. Watch the ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ trailer if you don’t believe me – it’s a wonderful example.

John Lewis hit the nail on the head, but M&S has sadly missed this entirely.

*UPDATE* we told you it was all about the music – someone’s done a minor mash-up using the theme from the Shining instead. changes it somewhat….


Yet another brilliant digital campaign from Penguin Books, this time from Penguin Canada.

This isn’t the first time the good ‘ol tradtional publisher has showcased how an understanding of the internet can be used to extend the brand / sell books.

True they’re in a a special place: well loved, recognisable, design heritage.  But they’ve neatly packaged together a campaign that ties in relevant celebrity endorsement (Douglas Coupland), UGC and a celebration of the brand.

We’ve completely bastardised the campaign – but do check it out. Go to and copy the covers – you have to then pop into PowerPoint or something to add in some bits and pieces, but it’s easy and a small price to pay for such splendid fun.

Oh, and a top tip – use Gill Sans (bold) to replicate that perfect Penguin style.

@LukeMackay and @wonky_donky

hyperbole briefing book

luke penguin 3journalist entertaining

luke penguin 1 clip_image001

powerpoint media relations