Chris Riddell, popular writer and children’s book illustrator, has recently accused retailer John Lewis of plagiarizing a character from one of his picture books in its new Christmas advert.
The production by John Lewis premiered two weeks back, and revolves around a big, snoring monster who lives under a child’s bed. According to a spokesperson, it 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.”
Chris Riddell is known for his imaginative illustrations, especially for some of the work he’s done with Neil Gaiman. The artist claims that Moz the Monster is surprisingly similar to one of his very first characters, Mr. Underbed. Mr. Underbed is a big, blue, fluffy monster created by Chris Riddell in the book by the same name and the author claims that John Lewis’ monster looks very similar to his one.
Naturally, representatives from John Lewis have come forward with the most obvious point in the book – the concept of a monster under the bed has been a universal bedtime story.
In conversation with the Guardian, Riddell deftly acknowledges the issue and points out his qualm, “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.”
The Goth Girl author added: “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.”
Even though the advert has been well received by fans, John Lewis’ actions on the subject are questionable. The company’s 2014 advert, featuring Monty the Penguin, was noted to be very similar to Oliver Jeffers’ bestseller Lost and Found. The author did not raise any issue over the matter but the resemblance was noted by the public regardless.