By Emmet Vincent

The creative team, Adam & Eve DBB, met in their central London office to discuss potential ideas for the next John Lewis Christmas ad. Although it was only February, they knew that if they were to surpass the success of last year’s advert – one that starred an adorable penguin named Monty – then they’d need ample time to have it ready for the Christmas season. Everyone put forward a plethora of suggestions, all of which were written down on a whiteboard.

‘A desert toad travels to the North Pole because he’s never seen snow before?’

‘A Dad teaching his young son how to cycle the bike he bought him for Christmas but it’s the time that they spend together which ends up being the real gift?’

‘Something to do with a little girl in a wheelchair who befriends a marmoset or some shit?’

Many exhausting hours later they eventually hit upon what they thought could be the winner. A Grandad, who dresses up as Father Christmas for his Grandson every year, suddenly falls ill and passes away. The little boy writes a letter to Santa Claus pleading with him to come back because he misses him terribly. On Christmas morning the boy runs downstairs hoping to find his Grandad waiting for him. Instead he sees the rest of his family standing there wearing sad smiles. They throw their arms around the boy in order to comfort him before giving him his presents, the sombre atmosphere quickly becoming more and more jovial. In the background Alexandra Burke sings a cover version of The Rolling Stones song ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, with the lyrics “But if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need” never sounding so apt.

About a week later the creative team had a meeting with the heads of John Lewis in a large, intimidating boardroom and ran through their idea with them. Much to their relief, the John Lewis people loved it and everyone in the room was overjoyed. The colour of their eyes transformed to deep red as an intern brought in a terrified, blonde virgin in chains. They feasted on her blood, all the while chanting ‘Hail Satan, hail Satan.’

When the ad was released many people said it made them cry even more than that penguin from last year.

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First published Open Pen Issue Sixteen.

Emmet Vincent grew up in Dublin on a diet of the Coen Brothers and Woody Allen. He studied film in college and had aspirations to be a writer/director but his parents and teachers neglected to inform him that life is just a series of crushing disappointments.

He writes pieces for his blog (Yellowbell Sunny) in order to console himself.

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