Is ‘Monty the Penguin’ by John Lewis the Perfect Christmas Ad?

Kevin Moehlenkamp picks his three favorite campaigns

Headshot of Tim Nudd

British retailer John Lewis and agency adam&eveDDB have set the bar ridiculously high for Christmas commercials. And none, perhaps, is more perfectly crafted than “Monty the Penguin” from 2014.

The campaign, which won the Film Craft Grand Prix at Cannes the following summer (and the Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix the year after that) told the charming story of a boy and his penguin friend, who seems forlorn as the holidays arrive. Set to a cover of John Lennon’s “Real Love,” it’s a masterpiece of craft and storytelling, with a lovely twist at the end.

Kevin Moehlenkamp, chief creative officer at GarrandPartners in Portland, Maine, picked “Monty the Penguin” as one of his three favorite ads ever when he sat down with Adweek for our “Best Ads Ever” video series.

“Everything about that piece of film was so brilliantly executed,” he told us. “You wouldn’t think anybody could ever take John Lennon’s song ‘Real Love’ and do a version of it that, in my opinion, was as good as the original. It was such a perfect track for a perfect bit of film.”

The art direction, too, was stunning—all in service to the storytelling.

“The emotion in that spot—you were locked in,” Moehlenkamp said. “To this day I look at it, and every frame is so beautifully art directed and such an important part of the story. Just for craftsmanship, that spot is one that I aspire to every day, to try to capture that kind of quality.”

Moehlenkamp, who once served as global creative director on Microsoft at McCann, also picked Apple work among his favorite advertising of all time—because, he said, it taught him that even tech messaging could have incredible warmth and humanity.

See the video above for all of Moehlenkamp’s picks, and see below for more of the spots in full. And check out our full “Best Ads Ever” series for more great takes on some of advertising’s most classic work.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.