...Stewart Who's brilliant take on it:
Everyone’s banging on about the £6m advert for John Lewis, which seems to be bringing tears to the collectively careworn eyes of Broken Britain. It was the first ad, in the first break of Britain’s Got Talent on ITV1 last Saturday. People were transfixed by its slick smoothness, aspirational qualities, haunting yet beautiful soundtrack…and the fact that it wasn’t chanting ‘WE BUY ANY CAR’ to a cod techno beat. People started Twittering about it right away, then before you know it, 130,000 people had viewed it on YouTube, with almost everybody (men included) confessing to massive sob-athons. Never knowingly undersold, indeed.
Granted, the 90-second advert, created by agency Adam & Eve is a beautifully crafted mini-epic featuring a woman going through stages of her life with a variety of John Lewis products. Yes, it’s rendered all the more poignant by the use of Billy Joel’s stunning song, Always a Woman, sung by the rather marvellous Fyfe Dangerfield. True, the advert shows a long, fulfilling life, blessed with family harmony. It must be noted at this juncture, that this is a fantasy life, cleansed of all the texture. No binge drinking, no drug taking, no low-self-esteem-ill-advised-sex-years and no illness, crippling poverty or death. And what kind of a life would that be, eh? Well, how would we know?
It should have ended with their gravestones, really, but John Lewis doesn’t do funeral services, so that may have proved a downer but with no commercial uplift. Sorry, there’s no need to be rancidly cynical. It IS superb, it DOES piss all over M&S and it boasts that all important viral fan club aspect. However, it might be possible that everyone’s weeping during this advert ‘cause the entire country is clinging onto their sanity, skirting the dark pools of depression like terrified sparrows, afraid of falling into the abyss. All it takes is a slightly sentimental scratch on our thin veneer of stability and we’re howling into the wind. Just a thought. Oh, and one YouTube commenter (robertwhitley12) put the hoo-ha into perspective when he observed: i thought it was great up to the point where i realised it's just the hovis advert with an old woman and no bread :(