Few televised spots are as anticipated each year as the Christmas ads from UK retailer John Lewis. This year’s campaign is no exception, as the world was introduced to Moz the Monster.
At seven feet tall, Moz could easily be a cousin to one of the Wild Things in the Maurice Sendak classic Where the Wild Things Are. He lives under the bed of a little boy named Joe and acts as his imaginary companion as the two stay up late every night playing together. Eventually, their activities begin to wear on the exhausted Joe and Moz is faced with a very real dilemma: to let go of his friend so he may grow up. A night-light gift with a twist turns out to be the perfect solution for the pair and their friendship together.
Directed by film and music video director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and created by ad agency adam&eveDDB, the challenges surrounding Moz’s creation all started with his story. Becky Brock, Marketing Director for John Lewis, stated that the essence of a great John Lewis ad is a “really simple story about human truth.”
For the team at adam&eveDDB, telling this kind of story meant finding new ways to keep on inventing. They worked alongside Millenium FX to create a moveable monster. Rather than create Moz entirely in CGI, two puppeteers were inside of the character’s costume. Fans were placed inside to ensure fresh air was pumped in, as little oxygen gets through the suit once the head is in place. Award winning VFX studio The Mill worked in postproduction to help bring Moz’s facial characteristics to life. As for the soundtrack, English rock band Elbow did a cover of “Golden Slumbers” by The Beatles to add to the air of dreamy magic and wonder surrounding the spot.
Adds Michel Gondry, “When I told my ex-girlfriend I was doing the next John Lewis Christmas film she said: You have big shoes to fill, this John Lewis commercial must make people cry, don’t forget. Last week, I showed it to her and she cried. Phew.”
You can watch the entire behind the scenes making of Moz the Monster here.