So How Did They Make that Penguin so Realistic?

Okay, I admit it. I was captivated by the John Lewis Christmas commercial and wondered, “How’d they do that?!”

Creativity went behind the scenes to find out. I’m glad they did.

Love it or hate it, John Lewis’s Monty the Penguin holiday ad is an unstoppable seasonal juggernaut, with YouTube views now exceeding 17 million. One of the reasons for the appeal of the U.K. retailer’s ad is its realistic depiction of an Adelie penguin, created completely in CGI.

Behind the scenes of the making of Monty the Penguin

In this fascinating behind-the-scenes film from VFX house MPC, you can find out exactly how Monty was dreamed up, created and rendered. It’s full of interesting nuggets — for instance, Monty picks up the Lego bricks the way that real penguins pick up fish — as well as providing an insight into the film’s production, casting and more.


A Boy and His Penguin: Different Slant on Holiday Ads

When it comes to holiday TV ads, very few here in America have the emotional ring  to them compared to those in the U.K. Creativity magazine highlighted one such holiday ad and I thought it was appropriate to share on this blog.

According to Creativity, retailer John Lewis’ Christmas commercial — the most anticipated ad of the year in the U.K. calendar — is here, and you’d have to be a real Scrooge not to like it. It has all the elements of a winner: a wonderful child actor, a cute animal (the kid’s pet Adelie penguin, brought to life in amazing CGI by MPC) and a heartwarming twist. It’s the music, though — a cover of John Lennon’s “Real Love” sung by John Odell — that gives it that extra touch that might make you keep the Kleenex close.

John Lewis' Christmas ad, a boy and his penguin

Like the department store chain’s previous much-lauded efforts “The Long Wait” and “The Snowman,” the ad, by Adam & Eve/DDB, was directed by Dougal Wilson.

John Lewis is also launching an in-store experience featuring Monty, the penguin from the ad, in partnership with Samsung. Kids will be able to see their own favorite toys animated in 3D using Microsoft scanning technology in “Monty’s Magical Toy Machine” and interact with the characters from the ad in a virtual world with “Monty’s Goggles,” using Google Cardboard, an experience created by Stinkdigital. They’ll also able to create their own Monty Christmas card, and of course there will be Monty-inspired merchandise.