John Lewis brings Monty the penguin to life with help from Microsoft and Google

Matt Brian. ENGADGET. 6/11/2014

Every year, high street retailer John Lewis taps into the hearts of millions of Brits with a new Christmas ad. This year is no different, after it unveiled a new £7 million marketing campaign, Monty’s Christmas, which centres on a little boy called Sam who wants to give his little penguin mate Monty the gift he has been dreaming of — a new penguin companion called Mabel. John Lewis’ festive campaigns tend to drive up its profits, and this year will likely be the same. However, to ensure this remains the case, the company is betting on technology to get mums and dads spending, with a little help from their children.

The retailer will open Monty’s Magical Toy Machine in its flagship Oxford Street store in London. Children are invited to bring their favourite cuddly toy, allowing store employees to scan and render them in 3D for their (little) owners to interact and play with on a big screen. The Telegraph reports that John Lewis has teamed up with Microsoft to create the booth, which uses three DSLRs to photograph the toy (which is suspended in mid-air using wire clips) and snapped 17 times to generate a 3D representation.

Those images are then processed by an X1 custom built computer running Windows 8.1, which then displays a digital model of the toy on three 75-inch displays equipped with the latest Kinect sensors. Kids can see their toy wake up, wave and dance, keeping them amused before their parents drag them around the rest of the store.

Google also plays a small role in proceedings with “Monty’s Goggles.” John Lewis has taken the search giant’s inexpensive VR concept, Google Cardboard, and used it to create a 360-degree virtual world featuring Sam and Monty. Samsung’s in on the action too, sponsoring the “Monty’s Den” experiences in stores around the country and providing Galaxy Tab S’ for kids to create their own penguin-themed Christmas cards.

While the technology-themed exhibits are designed to get people in through the doors and make people part with their cash, John Lewis is also doing its bit for charity. A Monty’s Christmas children’s book narrated by Dermot O’Leary will go live on the App Store and Google Play today, with a percentage of the proceeds going to Barnardo’s children’s charity.

També han parlat d’en Monty a The Guardian Business, especialment sobre l’ús i l’impacte de les noves campanyes nadalenques a través de les xarxes socials:

John Lewis unveils Christmas ad starring Monty the penguin.

THE GUARDIAN. 6/11/2014

After the success of last year’s Bear and the Hare animated ad which attracted more than 10m views on YouTube, John Lewis has raised its game with the help of Monty, a CGI-animated penguin, and some of the biggest names in the tech world.

The ad, which cost about £1m to make, features a young boy and what appears to be a real penguin playing together, going sledging, visiting the park and bouncing on the trampoline to the tune of John Lennon’s Real Love sung by British singer-songwriter Tom Odell, who was used by Burberry in its online Christmas film last year. (…)

That also ties into a Twitter campaign which promises to light up followers’ home pages and send a tweet to all their friends as the John Lewis-sponsored Oxford Street Christmas lights are turned on in London.

Social media is now a central part of most retailers’ ad campaigns. Rival department store Debenhams, which unveiled an ad last week featuring a group of children running amok in a store after hours to the tune of Paul McCartney’s Frog Chorus, is encouraging shoppers to share selfies of the moment they find the perfect gift, in return for £1,000 giftcard prizes.

Sarah Vizard, retail expert at trade journal Marketing Week, said John Lewis’s campaign was innovative because of its use of social media and events to encourage people to visit stores as well as shop online. “John Lewis is one of the few businesses which understand that while it’s great to put something up on social media, people are looking for a Christmas experience in stores which they just don’t get online,” she said. (…)

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