Yes, I’m a sentimental idiot. Apparently I’m not alone. I’m one of the many whose heart has been warmed by the new John Lewis Christmas commercial for 2014, “Monty the Penguin.”
In 2013, John Lewis produced “The Bear and the Hare,” which may have been a commercial, but it was also a work of art. I’m not sure “Monty the Penguin” took as long to create, but it is certainly another top-notch production.
I realize, of course, that this is a commercial. I also am aware that many people do not celebrate Christmas. It could certainly be argued that “Monty the Penguin” is just another excellent example of manipulative advertising.
But there are lessons in this video much like the ones in “The Bear and the Hare” – the power of imagination, and the value of empathy. And it’s truly delightful to watch.
It wouldn’t be an advertisement if it didn’t take advantage of merchandising opportunities. You can buy the Monty book as well as a slew of other penguin paraphernalia. However, there are many free materials offered as well. There’s an interactive app and a website.
Educationally, you might find it redeeming to see that there is a link to a World Wildlife Fund page that gives information about the Adelie penguin and an easy way to “adopt a penguin.” You can also access activities to use with children (ages 3-11) on the special “Bringing Skills to Life” page that ties in to the Monty story.
I will unashamedly admit to crying at the end of the video (I dare any mother not to), but I’m not going to tell you if I bought a stuffed penguin or not after watching the commercial. There are just some secrets a girl has got to keep.