November 6, 2015
This year’s John Lewis Christmas ad was released today at 8am. We know this time because the ads have become so famous around the world and so popular that John Lewis actually had a release time, and one of the UK papers created an online countdown clock.
Well, this year’s ad certainly does not disappoint. While each year, the ads have been highly creative, the 2015 version is a nice throwback to the 2010 and 2011 ads that created the magic simply through the eyes of the children in the ads. The emphasis is on giving. You will see there is not a lot John Lewis in any of these ads, but there is a certain degree of ownership. First, there is a certain unmistakeable style with a child, the home, parents and then something magical. Rachel Swift, head of brand marketing at John Lewis, says “It is has become part of our handwriting as a brand. It’s about storytelling through music and emotion. The sentiment behind that hasn’t changed – and that is quite intentional. The strategy behind our campaigns is always about thoughtful gifting.”
Here is this year’s spot.
Yes, the man on the moon is a metaphor (sorry, there really isn’t a man on the moon) for reaching out and giving someone a gift. The literal in you may wonder why a man on the moon. Hint: John Lewis ads are not for the literal. They are an escape where you can link to your own life. For me, this ad quickly reminds me of when my own kids are on the phone or FaceTime with my mom. There is a certain magic in the innocence and simplicity when the very young talk with older people. They both seem to get it, maybe sometimes more than the in-between ages where the innocence of Christmas is lost within their busy schedules. My favorite John Lewis spot has always been the 2011 version, but this new “Man on the Moon” spot is now my new fav!!! Thank you for making it. Here are the John Lewis spots from the last few years and you can tell me which one you like the best.
2014: Monty the Penguin:
Here is the one from 2011, about the boy who couldn’t wait for Christmas. You will notice this year’s Man on the Moon feels very similar.
This is also a great one from 2010
And you can see the one from 2009.
In 2012, the “snowman” ad felt bit too dark for me with the tone feeling like a slight miss for John Lewis. I felt they were trying too hard. Maybe feeling the pressure to keep the campaign alive by being different when really the consumer just wants the fast-becoming-familiar-John-Lewis-magic each year.
I also found the 2013 ad a bit of a departure, going to animation and utilizing on-line and in-store media. This campaign seems trying too hard to capitalize on their success. Doesn’t feel like a fit.
Christmas is 8 weeks away. Expect to see this spot a lot on your social media feed. But, also expect the other UK retailers to compete as they did last year. Here’s a link to what the other retailers did in 2014: UK retailers always do the best Christmas ads.
John Lewis ads have become one of the favorite parts of the Holiday season
Here is a powerpoint presentation of a workshop we lead on Advertising:
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