It’s that time of year again. The John Lewis Christmas advert has landed. Now, the countdown to Christmas begins.

In the last few years, we’ve had Monty the penguin, Man in the Moon, and Buster the Boxer. This year tells the story of a boy called Joe who befriends the monster under his bed - Moz the Monster.

As quoted in the article below from The Guardian, John Lewis’s Customer Director Craig Inglis says: “This year’s Christmas campaign brings to life the power of children’s imaginations and the joy of great friendships. Moz and Joe’s story is magical and heartwarming and I’m sure it will be loved by all of our customers, young and old.”

John Lewis have been the undisputed winners in the battle of the retailers for best Christmas advert for several years in a row. In the wake of their success, other retailers from M&S, to Tesco, to Aldi have been forced to up their game. But despite commendable efforts, there’s just something about the John Lewis adverts that make them arguably the most highly anticipated advert of the year.

So, what is it that makes them so special?

The John Lewis adverts master the art of storytelling. And with academy award-winning screenwriter Michel Gondry as the man behind this year’s ad, you’d expect nothing less. The French director can count Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Daft Punk’s Around The World music video as directorial credits.

The ads focus on a simple story that creates intrigue and slowly unravels a heartwarming sentiment. And they instantly propel you back to the excitement and anticipation you had about Christmas as a child.

Then there’s the soundtrack. Music is key to the impact of any advertising campaign, and the John Lewis Christmas adverts seem to always strike it right. How? With an emotive song (usually a cover of a classic bar the exception of Tom Odell’s ‘Real Love’) by a much-loved or upcoming British star.

This year’s soul-stirring choice is a rendition of the classic Beatles song, Golden Slumbers, by rock band Elbow. In previous years the likes of fellow British stars Ellie Goulding, Gabrielle Aplin and Lily Allen have been given the honour of featuring on the festive ads.

Combine strong storytelling and impactful music with the fact John Lewis are a much-loved and trusted brand, and there’s no wonder it stands out from the crowd. Supermarket rivals like Tesco and Sainsbury’s simply aren’t liked or trusted as much as John Lewis so just don’t have the same heart-tugging power.

The John Lewis adverts offer a great reminder that the product doesn’t have to be the main focus to achieve sales. Within minutes of the launch of 2015’s ‘Man in the Moon’, John Lewis had sold out of their ‘Make your own telescope’ online. And 2014 saw a 17% increase in general sales in the first week, and they made £18 million in sales from ‘Monty the Penguin’ stuffed toys. So if you’re after your very own Moz the Monster, you’d better order it now!

But with expectations now so high, is there a risk that viewers will be disappointed, underwhelmed? A quick trawl of social media and I’ve already seen evidence of some disappointed fans. Have John Lewis built up such a reputation that it’s near impossible to delight customers? The formula has worked for years, but I’m not alone in thinking that at some point, they might need to shake it up.

So if you haven’t seen it yet, click on the article below to watch the video and decide for yourself. But be warned… once you’ve watched it, Christmas will have arrived, and there’s no going back...