John Lewis’ 2014 Christmas Advert Takes Home PETA Award For Computer-Generated Penguin

For Immediate Release:

11 November 2014


Ben Williamson +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 229, [email protected]

Heart-Warming Ad Recognised for Preventing Animals From Being Abused in Entertainment Industry

London – The spotlight is on department store John Lewis, whose decision to use innovative computer-generated imagery (CGI) to create a stunningly life-like penguin in its much-anticipated high-profile Christmas ad campaign has earned the retailer PETA’s Compassionate Marketing Award. John Lewis and its advertising agency, adam&eveDDB, used exclusively willing human actors as well as CGI from the Moving Picture Company to create Monty, the penguin friend who comes to life in the imagination of a child.

“John Lewis’ decision to use computer-generated imagery for its latest TV advert, rather than using frustrated, tormented animals, puts it in line with other progressive and conscientious companies and spares penguins the stress of being treated as living props”, says PETA UK Director Mimi Bekhechi. “On-screen entertainment has progressed technologically as well as socially since the commercials of the 1970s, in which chimpanzees were forced to wear roller skates, carry pianos or pour tea from a pot. Slick creations such as this ad show that using actual animals, as well as being cruel, is utterly unnecessary.”

Like all wild animals, penguins would naturally shun contact with humans. Being hauled around by commercial animal handlers to be used as props for appearances or filming is extremely stressful and can leave them agitated and frightened and with weakened immune systems. Recent films such as Darren Aronofsky’s Noah and Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes have relied on computer-generated animals, as have award-winning television adverts featuring CGI meerkats.

A PETA US collaboration with ad giant BBDO and digital effects company The Mill resulted in “98% Human”, which highlighted how great apes used in ads, movies and television are forcibly taken from their mothers shortly after birth, causing irreversible psychological harm to both the mother and her baby. The spot, which was narrated by Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody, won a Gold Lion for visual effects at the prestigious Cannes Lions awards. Dozens of agencies – including the top 10 advertisers in the US – have now agreed not to exploit apes for profit.

For more information on the exploitation of animals for entertainment, please visit