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John Lewis shows how to do a ‘Christmas not Christmas’ ad

The eagerly anticipated 2015 John Lewis Christmas ad has been released…and my initial verdict?

Another masterpiece.

Every year, the retailer raises its own bar. There are certain hallmarks we have come to expect: a slowed down piano cover of a classic song, a heartfelt theme – which means the underlying message really has to resonate to cut through the now familiar packaging of the advert.

There are two things that I think work really well with this advert

Firstly, it’s telling a real story; one that’s bigger than Christmas. Loneliness is a critical issue among the elderly – according to Campaign to End Loneliness, 1 in 10 have contact with friends and family less than once a month – and the festive period can make this sense of isolation even more acute.



Secondly, #ManOnTheMoon successfully manages to make a non-Christmas story ‘Christmassy’, in not too contrite a way.

What makes the second point particularly poignant for me is the fact that John Lewis follows Burberry’s 2015 Christmas ad, a tribute to Billy Elliott.

As beautifully as it’s shot, Burberry’s effort grates on me somewhat, because it’s just not Christmassy! The brand has taken a campaign that would’ve generated great publicity, likes and shares at any time of the year, and buried it under a sea of all-out seasonal offerings.

Christmas should be a time for tinsel, mulling, jingle bells and carol singing. Christmas ads should be a shameless display of the emotion that we all feel this time of year, when we have an excuse to show our appreciation to the ones we love.

John Lewis’ advert reminds us is that not everyone will have a huge family surrounding them come Christmas morning, but a small gesture from us all can make a big difference.




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