John Lewis Christmas advert 2019: Watch Excitable Edgar the dragon steal the show in this absolute tearjerker of an ad

Laura Hampson
John Lewis & Partners/Waitrose & Partners

John Lewis has turned to the classic tale of the luckless and unpopular outsider who wins everyone over with its Christmas ad for 2019.

Edgar, an exuberant young dragon, is the star of this year's campaign - run jointly for the first time with Waitrose - as he almost derails festivities in his home village with his fire-breathing excitement.

The eagerly anticipated ad is a return to familiar territory for John Lewis, which ended a decade of heart-warming tearjerkers featuring loveable animals and charming children last year with a star turn from Sir Elton John.

Edgar gets himself into all sorts of strife while his anxious friend Ava looks on - accidentally melting the ice-rink, reducing a snowman to a puddle and setting fire to a Christmas tree.

It is all set to a cover of REO Speedwagon's soft rock classic Can't Fight This Feeling by Dan Smith from the band Bastille, and was filmed over two weeks in Budapest with an extras cast of about 100 people.

After his series of calamities, Edgar finally shuts himself away in despair, but Ava encourages him to rejoin the village with the gift of a Christmas pudding, which allows him to put his fire to perfect use.

In conjunction with the ad’s release, there will also be a number of Edgar-themed products available in John Lewis and Waitrose, including a cuddly Edgar toy, an Edgar-centred story book and Edgar wellington boots.

The ad was created by advertising agency adam&eveDDB, directed by Dougal Wilson and the retailers declined to put a price on the ad, only saying that it was a "natural next step" in bringing the two brands together.

Previous John Lewis Christmas campaigns have involved budgets of around £1 million on putting each ad together and another £6 million on placement.

Meeting with the John Lewis and Waitrose teams ahead of the release, they told the Standard that while Edgar wasn’t the initial concept, it was the favourite of the stories pitched and the one that came together in the end.

Filming took place in August, and when asked if John Lewis feels pressure to come up with an iconic ad year on year, they said: “It’s a nice pressure to have, and we love that the British public love it as much as we do.”

John Lewis customer director Craig Inglis said: "I'm delighted our two brands have come together for this year's Christmas campaign.

"It started from a spark of an idea - a little dragon's excitement about Christmas - and became the story of how someone goes the extra mile for their best friend to give just the right gift.

"It's a funny, heart-warming story that will resonate with our customers as they seek out the perfect gifts for their loved ones this Christmas."

Twitter users will also be able to use a bespoke Edgar emoji on the platform until December 25.

The ad will first air on telly this Saturday, November 16 during The X Factor: Celebrity on ITV from 8.20pm.

As in previous years, the ad encourages engagement with a good cause. This year it is food poverty charity FareShare, with "feasts" to be held in John Lewis shops and community venues ahead of Christmas.

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