Mog vs #ManOnTheMoon

It’s that time of year again when we all come together to give our two pence worth on a contest to determine who comes out on top at Christmas – no, not the X Factor or I’m a Celeb – it is, of course, the battle of the Christmas adverts.

It’s a relatively new festive tradition that has seen increased public interest in the last few years, but the inventiveness and messaging behind the adverts causes excitement and shows the power advertising still holds in terms of reaching target audiences and positioning the brand favourably at the busiest time of the year for retailers.

This year’s head to head sees the offerings #ManOnTheMoon from John Lewis and beloved children’s literary character Mog the Cat come to life in Sainsbury’s advert (for Generation Adblock who may not have seen them yet, links to the adverts below), continuing the contest from last year when John Lewis’ Monty the Penguin faced off against Sainsbury’s depiction of Christmas in the trenches. So, how do they compare?


John Lewis certainly loves pulling at the heartstrings in its campaigns, and this year is no different. The spirit of giving and sharing with those less fortunate or who have nobody is the main theme and done in a very creative way. The social media frenzy that followed the advert’s launch shows how effective the brand is at getting tongues wagging (22,429 tweets and retweets in the first hour of mostly positive sentiment). John Lewis has also launched an app in conjunction with the advert to help countdown the phases of the moon until Christmas – this year will be the first full moon on Christmas day since 1977 – a nice touch. Oh, you can also buy the little girl’s telescope from the retailer too.

However, did you know that the advert was made in association with Age UK in a bid to tackle loneliness this Christmas? Probably not. The advert certainly doesn’t mention it and the webpage doesn’t reference Age UK until you’ve scrolled halfway down. So, by isolating the charity from the campaign, isn’t John Lewis really doing the opposite of what it’s supposed to be encouraging others to do?

Mog’s Christmas Calamity:

Ah, Mog! A perennial figure in my childhood (I was born in 1992) and I’m sure many others will say the same – with the exception of Account Manager Jack Williams who had absolutely no clue about Mog or the books! The advert depicts Mog’s Christmas and sees the mischievous cat causing, and subsequently rescuing the family from, a fire on Christmas Day.

With Christmas seemingly ruined, the family head back into their fire-damaged house only for their neighbours to join them in restoring the house and preparing a new Christmas dinner all in time for lunch! ‘Christmas is for sharing’ flashes across the screen in the final scene, followed by ‘Sainsbury’s – Supporting child literacy with Save the Children’ and the point of the advert becomes clear. Sainsbury’s is proud to state its partnership with the charity and by recreating a well-loved feel-good Christmas story, draws the viewer in. The book ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ was specially written for the campaign and can be bought at Sainsbury’s along with cuddly toys of the cat with all profits going towards Save the Children’s child literacy programmes.

The verdict:

Winner – Sainsbury’s

Although John Lewis’ advert is very well-made and more of an integrated campaign than Sainsbury’s, I can’t help but feel it misses the point it’s supposed to be putting forward by placing its own agenda above its partner’s. Sainsbury’s ad however has a really uplifting feel and is very clear in its support of charity, without making the mistake of potentially trivialising serious events by trying to directly sell any products, as it did last year with its wartime chocolate. Besides, John Lewis should have left ‘Half the World Away’ alone.

Seafood Week Part 4: Look a Little Deeper

How do you show the working world of an industry operating over the horizon? That has been a challenge Acceleris’ maritime division has faced up to many times in recent years. From working with the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) to helping Seafarers UK run its annual Seafarers Awareness Week, we’ve worked hard to give a face to the faceless and a voice to the voiceless.

One way we have achieved this is through the use of video.

Video is an increasingly important tool for marketers: YouTube sees one billion video views per day. ONE BILLION! And the human brain takes in 90 per cent of all the information it processes visually. That means video can communicate more information in less time – perfect for the time-poor world we live in.

With the NFFO, one of our first ideas, and the first project we ran on their behalf, was ‘Tweets from the Deep’. This involved a small boat fisherman tweeting everything he did during one day out at sea. This allowed Twitter users to follow his day in real time and ask questions directly to him.


This initiative gave a unique insight to life on the waves in a way that had never been done before. But we went a step further and put a videographer on deck with him to film the day too. This meant as well as following his 140 character descriptions and insights, we could provide a real glimpse through the porthole of a working fishing vessel.

Since ‘Tweets from the Deep’, video has been a regular tool we’ve used to shed light on the fishing industry and the hard work that goes in to feeding our island nation. Our latest suite followed specific themes the industry wanted to address, from their work with scientists to how they protect the environment. We’ve also produced more consumer-focused videos, including with Masterchef presenter Gregg Wallace where we asked seven award-winning chefs to create delicious recipes using underused species. And they certainly delivered!

Video is a hugely versatile medium. It can be used to teach, inform, entertain or inspire. For us, it has been an especially useful tool because it brings to life a subject that in most people’s minds is far off and unimaginable. It has also allowed those that live and work beyond the line of the horizon to tell their own stories and that, we’ve found, is the best way of showing the reality of seafaring today.

FN cartoon

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