Case Study: Monty The Penguin

Table of Contents

Christmas always presents an incredible opportunity for retailers to drive their revenues and market share. John Lewis has a history of launching a memorable campaign during Christmas. Monty The Penguin was amongst the most memorable campaigns of the last decade.

John Lewis launched the campaign with immersive marketing, where customers become wrapped up in a story-led by TV, engrossed in a world of activation, and engaged with new depth and feeling.

Monty the Penguin not only engaged the audience but also generated an immersive marketing-led record sales, views, shares, and returns. 



Client: John Lewis

Agency: adam&eve DDB

Medium Featured On Video: TV, Interactive, Mobile/Tablet, OOH, Social Networking Sites/Applications

Language: English

Christmas is a pretty significant time of year for retailers. It represents a massive proportion of annual revenue for retailers. It demonstrates to customers, staff, and suppliers the business’s general health and the confidence they should put in the brand. 

In the past, John Lewis has a history of using marketing to good effect at Christmas, and their campaigns have become an integral and eagerly anticipated part of the countdown to Christmas.

Their challenge was to deliver another market-leading festive campaign and remind people that John Lewis is a leading retailer across physical shops, online and mobile sites, and the mix of the two that is ‘Click and Collect.’

Solution: Introducing Monty The Penguin

John Lewis partnered with their media agency Manning Gottlieb OMD to create and implement a fully integrated 7-week campaign focusing on emotional engagement, multi-touchpoint activation, social sharing, public relations, and subsequent commercial success.

Their advertising agency adam&EveDDB created an emotional and powerful TV ad featuring a little boy and his best friend, Monty the Penguin, which followed on from the long-standing theme from John Lewis that celebrates thoughtful gifting.

John Lewis’ 2014 Christmas spot tells the tale of an unlikely friendship between Sam, a little boy, and his best friend, Monty the penguin. Set to Tom Odell’s version of John Lennon’s reflective Real Love, the ad evokes the magic of a make-believe Christmas through a child’s eyes. The two-minute spot follows Sam and Monty’s antics leading up to Christmas. When the day comes, Sam gives Monty the gift he’s been dreaming of, a penguin companion. 

The campaign was teased in a Channel 4 ident prior to launch. Monty and his partner Mabel became powerful seasonal mascots, appearing in windows, books, apps, and merchandise.

Monty and Mabel even received their own Twitter accounts. John Lewis’ penguin toys sold out within days of the campaign’s launch. As a result, the store experienced a record sales week, taking in £175 million for the first time.


Record Sales

John Lewis sales were up 5.5% year-on-year versus a market increase of only 1.5%. They also had a record sales week, taking £175M for the first time.

Highest Return on ROI

The campaign delivered a profit ROI of £7.44 for every pound spent – a 3% increase year on year and delivered £141M in incremental revenue

Reach & Buzz Generated

The ad generated 349M impressions up 320% YoY and at launch trended globally on Twitter. Tom Odell’s ‘Real Love’, reached #3 on the iTunes charts.

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