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The John Lewis Christmas advert: What is the UK hysteria over the retailer video?

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The John Lewis Christmas advert: What is the UK hysteria over the retailer video?
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It's the time of year that heralds the beginning of the festive season for many in the UK — the annual release of the John Lewis Christmas advert.

This year's edition sees an enthusiastic dragon called Edgar struggling to contain his excitement — and his fire breathing capabilities — as the Christmas activities begin.

Just hours after the release on Thursday, the video had accumulated more than 1.2 million views and made up the top three trending topics on Twitter.

Last year's festive advert from the retailer racked up around 14 million views in total.

The 'John Lewis Christmas advert' phenomenon has in the last decade become part of a hotly-anticipated tradition in the UK, which bears some semblance to the iconic Christmas Coca Cola adverts recognised around the world.

John Lewis began creating its Christmas adverts in 2007 by telling short emotional stories with cutesy characters meant to melt the heart.

From 2008, it would use a re-worked and moving cover of popular songs in a tradition that became somewhat of a trademark on the ads.

This year's advert is soundtracked by a Bastille cover of REO Speedwagon's Can't Fight This Feeling.

The advert filled the top three trends on Twitter hours after its release

The annual trend grew so big that it later inspired other highstreet brands in Britain to make their own versions of videos as part of a heartstring-pulling competition.

Twitter even made its own advert last year featuring a real-life John Lewis — a computer science professor from the US whose Twitter account is overloaded each year by people posting about the retailers' advert.

Such a trend is also reportedly backed up by the figures. In 2016, for every £1 spent returned £8 in profit.

And last year, the Christmas period reportedly saw a 1.4% year-on-year increase in the John Lewis-Waitrose partnership, despite a less successful year overall.

This year, as in previous years, John Lewis is also cashing in further on the adverts by turning its Excitable Edgar character into a protagonist in a storybook and a cuddly toy.

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