British retailer John Lewis has unveiled its latest Christmas ad, but one advertising executive says this latest offering is missing something.
The company's Christmas ads are seen by many as one of the early signs that the festive season is getting underway.
This year's ad shows an unlikely friendship between a 14-year-old boy and an alien who crash-lands on Earth right before Christmas.
But Neal Davies from BBDO Advertising told The Hard Shoulder this year's ad feels different, and not in a good way.
"It's a great marker in the creative timeline of the year, as it is in everybody's opening up of the Christmas story.
"But from our perspective it was e-mailed around the agency, and everybody excitedly started talking about it - and giving it a good critique, saying what they think, and that was where the debate started".
He says while the advert is visually stunning, something is lacking.
"There seemed to be something missing in terms of what the John Lewis Christmas ads have always been really good at: which is delivering some degree of relatability.
"Even when it was the story about the man in the moon, which isn't a very relatable thing, it was done in a very human way that you could understand.
"And this one felt like it had missed the mark.
"It doesn't feel like a relatable thing, and that piece felt like the bit that made it less successful than maybe some of the other ones they they've produced in the past".
But what makes a good ad?
"There are a lot of things that I think people expect at Christmas - whether it's some sense of togetherness or family, good food, emotional music - the thing is, it's not a checklist.
"You can throw those things into an ad and it still doesn't connect.
"Essentially that new John Lewis ad has those things in it, but it just doesn't seem to land in the way that the other ones do".
And he says the really good ones stand the test of time: "We've talked about the Guinness Christmas ad that we made nearly 20 years ago.
"It's funny - John Lewis do a different ad every year, and people are expecting to debate around 'I wonder what they've done this time?'
"Whereas the Guinness ad has been the same thing - it's the same reassuring mental images that it creates; the same cultural touchpoints that it reminds you of, that it's very much part of the Christmas tradition".
Some comments from the John Lewis YouTube channel also criticised its latest advert.
One user said: "With everything everyone has been through these past few years I thought their advert would be heartfelt".
Another person commented: "Explain the plot of E.T in 2 mins".
And another user added: "I don't think we have the antibodies to be kissing aliens".