John Lewis accused of plagiarism over Moz the Monster ad

Moz the monster

John Lewis has been accused of plagiarism by children’s author and illustrator Chris Riddell over its Christmas advert Moz the Monster.

Former children’s laureate Riddell took to social media to highlight the striking similarities between the department store’s widely celebrated Christmas television advert and his book Mr Underbed.

The resemblance of the two monsters is notable, both are furry and blue and have a large nose.

The opening sequence of John Lewis’ advert, in which a young boy is awoken by a shaking mattress before the monster reveals themselves, is also similar to Mr Underbed.

“The idea of a monster under the bed is by no means new but the ad does seem to bear a close resemblance to my creation – a big blue unthreatening monster who rocks the bed and snores loudly,” Riddell told the Guardian.

“Needless to say, I think Mr Underbed is a lot more appealing than Moz, but of course, I’m biased. I’ll be fascinated to hear John Lewis’ thoughts on the matter.

“I was struck by the similarity of the concept when I watched the ad, and subsequently a number of people have tweeted and emailed me pointing this out. So I decided to do a Facebook post, tongue in cheek, about John Lewis promoting Mr Underbed.

“It was the first picture book I wrote and illustrated and was published in 1986. Subsequently, at the publisher’s request, I re-illustrated it in 2009. During my time as children’s laureate I spoke about Mr Underbed often at public events, as my first book.”

The Moz The  Monster advert is thought to have cost around £7 million and has already been watched millions of times on YouTube.

It was directed by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’s Michel Gondry and created by advertising agency Adam&Eve.

A John Lewis spokeswoman responded to the plagiarism accusations.

“The story of a big hairy monster under the bed which keeps a child from sleeping is a universal tale which has been told many times over many years,” she said.

“Ours is a Christmas story of friendship and fun between Joe and Moz The Monster, in which Joe receives a night light which helps him get a good night’s sleep.

“The main thrust of our story is utterly different to Chris Riddell’s.”

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