Edinburgh Zoo ‘helped inspire’ John Lewis advert

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EDINBURGH Zoo has claimed their penguin population helped inspire the new John Lewis Christmas advert.

The advert, which was shared 202,953 times online within the 24 hours, revolves around the story of Monty the penguin.

The friendship between Sam (left) and Monty the penguin. Picture: PA

The friendship between Sam (left) and Monty the penguin. Picture: PA

The pet and best friend of a young boy named Sam, Monty yearns for requited love from a member of his own species in the build-up to Christmas. The story has captured the hearts of the UK general public.

According to Edinburgh Zoo, production for the ad included members of the Adam&Eve/DDB advertising agency visiting the Scottish capital in order to observe the behaviour of the birds. Short recordings were later used for the CGI effects seen in the finished product.

“We were so excited when we found out our penguins helped to inspire the much anticipated John Lewis Christmas advert and would help bring the story to life,” said Dawn Nicoll, senior keeper of penguins at the Zoo.

“Although Monty and Mabel are Adélie penguins, they have the same behaviours and mannerisms as the Gentoo penguins we have here.

“When the production crew came to study our penguins for a day, the birds definitely put on a great show!

“The crew were particularly interested in capturing the exact head movements of the penguins which they did a great job in recreating in the advert.


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She added: “Nesting season was in full swing at the time and it is possible that the affectionate behaviours displayed by our penguins inspired some of the more emotive interactions in the advert.

“Penguins could be seen courting similar to the loving behaviour displayed at the end of the advert when Monty and Mable meet.

“Male penguins were borrowing pebbles from each other to impress their other half and build their own perfect nests - an interesting and fun movement to watch which was reflected in the advert when Monty helps Sam build a toy brick house.”

Penguins have been Edinburgh residents for over 100 years and they are viewed as one of the zoo’s star attractions thanks to the daily Penguin Parade.


John Lewis unveils latest £7m Christmas TV advert


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