Aurora Rising


Norwegian pop chanteuse Aurora

B-sides don’t get much respect, but this one has propelled a budding career into the spotlight.  Norwegian recording artist Aurora has recorded the 1994 Oasis song “Half the World Away” for the 2015 Christmas advertising campaign for U.K. retail chain John Lewis. Themed “Man on the Moon,” the commercial plays out a heartwarming drama as a little girl observes through her telescope a lonely old man who lives in a shack on the moon. As she cleverly devises ways to convey holiday cheer, Aurora trills in the background, delivering a shortened version of the sweet acoustic ballad.

“At its heart the narrative demonstrates the power of connection and thoughtfulness at Christmas – a time of great joy, but also a time when some might find themselves alone,” the retailer shared in an announcement. The advert – from the agency adam&eve DDB – ends with the tagline , “Show someone they’re loved this Christmas.”

The same might go for Aurora Aksnes. Although the British press is speculating the cover – which was recorded specifically for the commercial — will got to the top of the charts, the 19-year-old singer has come under fire from Oasis purists, and even the band’s ex manager, who publicly insulted the effort. (Please! Get busy back at being an ex-manager, Alan McGee, and stop terrorizing the children.)  The Telegraph reports that Britpop fans are pulling for the single. On Nov. 12 Aurora released a video in which she performs the complete 3:08 version of the tune.

Apparently, it’s a really big deal in the U.K. who John Lewis selects as “the voice of Christmas.” Last year, it was Tom O’Dell, who recorded a little-known John Lennon song, “Real Love.” In 2014, Lily Allen performed Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know,” taking it to No. 1 on the U.K. charts, a feat also achieved in 2013 by Gabrielle Aplin, with Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “The Power of Love.” John Lewis started the trend in 2009,  coming out of the gate daringly, with Taken By Trees recording Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

The 2015 effort pushes into new territory with a “Man On The Moon App” that uses augmented reality and Google Cardboard to bring the moon to life. By pointing a phone at the “Man on the Moon” image on posters,  shopping bags, boxes and more places — or by simply by holding the device up to the moon itself — users can unlock a 3D interactive moon that releases daily facts and animations in the countdown to Christmas Day’s full moon. The app also features a “Man on the Moon” game, in which the player has to avoid obstacles and collect points in a bid to get a gift all the way to the Man on the Moon.

“The Man on the Moon” commercial premiered in a 120-second version on John Lewis social media channels on Friday, Nov. 6, when it also made its television premiere during the reality series “Gogglebox” on Channel 4. A teaser campaign using #OnTheMoon began Sunday, Nov. 1 , on television and social media.  Additionally, John Lewis partnered with Age UK to drive awareness and support for some of the million older people who statistics report can sometimes go for a whole month without speaking to anyone. Throughout November and December, the retailer will be supporting Age UK in a number of ways, including in-store and online activity, a text-to-donate and through the sales of select holiday merchandise.

The “Man On The Moon” commercial  was directed by Kim Gehrig through Somesuch, with post production and effects by The Mill.

The song was one of the few Oasis tunes on which Noel Gallagher sang lead vocals. It was released on the B-side to “Whatever,” and was included as part of the compilation “The Masterplan” in 1998, when it was debuted as the theme to the BBC comedy “The Royale Family,” and the retrospective “Stop the Clocks” in 2006. Interestingly, Gallagher said his inspiration for writing “Half the World Away” was Burt Bacharach’s “This Guy’s in Love with You.” You can listen to Noel perform them both and decide if they sound alike.


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