Stupid penguin! Spoof of Christmas John Lewis ad goes viral

12 Nov 2014 @ 12.10 pm
| News

Anyone fed up of the John Lewis Christmas ad yet? If so, we may have found the perfect antidote.

Filmmaker Jamie McKeller, of York-based Redshirt Films, has created a parody of the advert which has already been watched more than 220,000 times on YouTube.

If you have managed to avoid the original (congratulations!) it tells the sickly story of a boy helping his pet penguin Monty find love for Christmas.

Jamie’s recut version casts Monty as a dumb slave, forced to do his master’s every bidding, from supplying Lego bricks to playing football.

‘Some say I ruined Christmas’

A hit on Twitter and Facebook, commenters on YouTube either thought it hilarious…

Our teacher meant to put on the original ad for us, and she put this one on by accident, the whole class died laughing

…or appalling

SHUT up penguins are awesome and not stupid.

Jamie’s parody has featured on the Huffington Post and on the Metro website.

Usually found making film series like horror comedy I Am Tim Helsing, Jamie took a break from the edit suite to tell us what it’s like being a YouTube superstar…

So why make a parody of the John Lewis ad, Jamie?


Shameless self promotion! RedShirt Films is currently at the stage where we just want people to see our work, and when you’re releasing work into the internet it can be really difficult to get people to click play.

I’ve actually recut the John Lewis adverts three years in a row now, but this is the first one to do so well. People are subscribing to the YouTube channel and discovering other work that’s up there.

Monty is a national sensation, and this was a jump on the bandwagon to bring new people to us. It’s worked, and we’ve picked up a few hundred subscribers over the last three days which is excellent.

How did you come up with the ideas?

I watched the ad a few times without the audio, studied the shots and had a think about what the images made me feel. It was the shot of little Monty shifting Lego bricks around that sparked the idea that penguins are sold into middle class slavery, and then the rest fell into place.

Who was involved?

Just me! I grabbed the video, a cup of coffee and watched it. Made some notes, found the right music and chopped it together. I recorded the voiceover on my iPhone, cleaned it all up a bit and uploaded it.

The whole thing took around three hours from downloading it around 10am to uploading just after 1pm. Once I had the idea, it all fell into place pretty fast.

Obviously without the amazing work of the team behind the original advert I wouldn’t have much to work with…


What do you make of the response?

It’s great! Look on Twitter and you’ll see hundreds of people sharing and enjoying it on #penguinmadness and there are a dozen or so articles about it.

Some have stated that I ruined Christmas, one compared it to Monty Python style humour. I’ll take that quite happily. Not sure if I have the power to ruin Christmas though.

Looking at the YouTube comments, some people aren’t happy…

I got off light. The YouTube comments section is possibly the worst place on the internet. Look to any of the more popular UK YouTubers like TomSka and I just don’t understand how or why they keep uploading work to the platform. T

he dislike button is a terrible idea, like anonymously yelling out “BOO” in the theatre with no reason.

I’ve replied to every comment, although I had to remove one or two when they got a little ridiculous. Twitter and Facebook users have shown a lot more love towards it.

What have you got against penguins??

Nothing at all, I’m trying to save them and release them back into their natural habitat.

Will you be shopping at John Lewis York this Christmas?

I’m not sure I can stretch to £129 for a salt shaker.

Any more parodies lined up…?

We’re looking to what else we could do, but can’t think of anything else that has the same impact as the John Lewis advert. It’s become something of a phenomenon and I can’t name another campaign that creates so much noise.

Were any penguins harmed in the making of your film?

Only the one that got my coffee wrong while I was editing the advert.