Sneak peek at the John Lewis Christmas ad 2023 plus last 15 they’ve made



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The new John Lewis Christmas ad 2023 expresses the moral of accepting those who are a little different. 

In the ad, our main character, a young boy, is at a flea market and buys a “grow your own Christmas tree.” The story shows it growing a little each day, and then suddenly, it turns into this weird-looking, crazy Venus flytrap. It’s certainly not a normal Christmas Tree. The boy’s family doesn’t like the tree and takes it outside in the backyard, quickly replacing it with a normal-looking Christmas tree. On Christmas morning, the boy puts his present under the crazy Venus flytrap. 

Have a look at the new John Lewis Christmas ad 2023 below.

The John Lewis Christmas ad 2023 is a bit of a dud. A disappointing 5.5/10. It’s ok. The story didn’t work for me. And, I was left wanting more.

The story’s moral tries to shine through as “it’s ok to be different,” but I was stuck with “they rejected different.” My first impression is that the story is confusing. It doesn’t have enough heart-warming tugs at the heartstrings. It won’t make the top 5 or even the top 10 of the John Lewis Christmas ads.

Over the last 15 years, John Lewis Christmas ads have been all over the map, from trying to tell a story with a moral principle to a bouncing dog. In the face of the pressure to produce a great Christmas ad each year, they’ve even replaced their agency. John Lewis parted ways with Adam & Eve DDB as it attempts a turnaround after recent slumps.

Now, with Satchi & Satchi, this John Lewis Christmas ad 2023 will not be enough to break them out of their slump. 

Past John Lewis Christmas ads

For over a decade, there has been hysteria and anticipation for the John Lewis Christmas ad, but that may be dying if they fail to deliver. During the era of amazing John Lewis advertising, they could link advertising with 5-8% sales growth. 

The connectivity with consumers was helping buck the declines other retailers faced with e-commerce. Obviously, 2020 and 2021 have been difficult times for all of retail. 

Out of all the John Lewis Christmas ads, my top 3 favorites are 2011, 2010, and 2015. What are your top 3? 

John Lewis 2022 Christmas ad

The new John Lewis Christmas ad for 2022 is out! While it feels like a lovely story, I’ve seen this ad before. And, it was done better by the other brand. Allegro For this year’s John Lewis Christmas ad, I don’t hate it or love it. Feels like a nice safe ad. I’ll give it a 6.0 out of 10. Have a look below.

Allegro did a better job with the same idea

Allegro, a Polish website had a much better version of this same idea. The ending is very heart-warming. Millions of views so far, lots of tears for sure.

2021 John Lewis Christmas Ad

The new John Lewis Christmas ad for 2021 is out and feels very safe with a predictable story about an alien spaceship landing in the forest. I don’t hate it or love it. That’s what happens with a safe ad. I’ll give this year’s ad a 6.0 out of 10. Have a look below.

2020 John Lewis Christmas Ad

 John Lewis Christmas ad reignites the magic of John Lewis, similar to how 2011 introduced the idea of giving. We see a simple meandering storyline with small little ways to give a little love. The moral of the story is we can all do our part, a message we have heard many times in 2020. Yet, they do so without overt Covid talk. It will do well, but maybe in a more subtle way than the best John Lewis Christmas ads of the past. Not quite goosebumps, tears or magic. Overall, an 7.5/10. 

2019 John Lewis Christmas ad: Edgar the dragon

Last year’s John Lewis Christmas ad introduced a cute fire-wielding dragon named Edgar, who kept burning everything with his flames, until they find a better use for his talents. The simple moral of the story is we all have our strengths. It scores high on the cuteness factor, but low on being different enough to breakthrough, and lower on creating magic for the season, with no tears or goosebumps. It is ok, a bit safe, but not be one of the Christmas ads that are talked about for years. Overall, a solid 7/10. I wish it was higher.

2018 John Lewis Christmas ad: Elton John

This ad is a 9 if it was for an Elton John movie coming out. However, it’s only a 6 for a John Lewis Christmas ad. Yes, it’s enjoyable. Warm. Good story telling. It’s good but not great. Sadly, Elton won’t save Christmas for the John Lewis stores. The idea of “borrowed equity” is where you take something well-known in the marketplace and try to link it to your brand communication. It rarely works. It’s fine to use a song to tell your story, but never let the story get in the way of your brand. In this case, the Elton John equity overwhelms the John Lewis brand, and it overwhelms the power of Christmas. It becomes a great Elton John ad, not a great John Lewis ad. When I see brands use “borrowed equity,” it usually means they find their own brand too dull. Look below at the 2011 ad, and tell me if it is boring. Alternatively, did the people at John Lewis get bored with your own brand?

2017 John Lewis Christmas ad: Moz the Monster

This John Lewis Christmas ad was extremely safe. Likely the last few years, they hve bounced around quite a bit, struggling to nail down a spot that delivered on the formula of 2009 to 2012 when they were pure magic. To me, the ad is OK, but not great. It’s cute, but not brilliant. This ad falls a little flat, compared to previous ads. It has a monster, which feels like a cross between Monsters Inc. and the Monty the Penguin they did a few years ago. 

2016 John Lewis Christmas ad: Buster the Boxer

Pretty simple story. Kid likes to bounce on things. Dad builds a trampoline. Animals come out and bounce on it. Dog sees them and is jealous. Dog bounces on the trampoline before the kid gets to it. Kid disappointed? Mom and Dad disappointed? No one seems happy. But a dog on a video gets tons of views.

2015 John Lewis Christmas ad: Man on the Moon

This spot was great on story telling, but it might have gone overboard on sad. I truly loved it. My second favorite John Lewis Christmas ad next to the 2011 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. 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.

2014 John Lewis Christmas ad:

Pretty simple John Lewis Christmas ad, a little similar to the 2017 spot. The imaginary penguin becomes his best friend, and in the end, he gets a penguin toy for Christmas. In 2017, the imaginary monster becomes his best friend and the monster gives him a toy so he won’t be scared at night. Pretty damn safe. Seems to be targeting younger moms and their toddlers. 7/10.

2013 John Lewis Christmas ad:

This 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 for the depth of story-telling of the 2010 or 2011. I get the sense they felt they were too dark on tone in 2012, so they went very light in 2013.

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Beloved Brands book and John Lewis Christmas ads

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2012 John Lewis Christmas ad: Snowman

The “snowman” ad went a bit too dark for me with missed 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 “familiar-John-Lewis-magic” each year.

2011 John Lewis Christmas ad: Counting Down

This is my favorite John Lewis Christmas ad. Tells the story in a very emotional way and communicates the art of giving which is what the season should be about. 

2010 John Lewis Christmas ad: Your song

This Christmas ad is also a great one from 2010, with the story telling improving over the 2009 spot and Ellie Goulding’s cover of “Your song” is incredible. With the multiple stories throughout the spot, it has that “Love Actually” quality to the ad.

2009 John Lewis Christmas ad:

This John Lewis Christmas ad was the starting point for the great advertising would do. Engaging video story-telling with a soft cover of a classic song. These would become the trademark of the great John Lewis ads over the next few years.

Non-Christmas ad from 2010

I love this ad as it demonstrates the moments of life. Many times I use this ad to talk about the moments of accelerated needs when the consumer is more open to engaging in changing their brands. 

Best Christmas ads of all time

Some of the best Christmas ads from all over the world

The John Lewis Christmas ad 2023 isn’t on the list, but I have included the 2011 John Lewis Christmas ad. 

best Christmas ads, John Lewis Christmas Ads, Xmas Ads

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The Creative Brief defines the box.

At Beloved Brands, we believe the best creative people are in-the-box problem solvers, not out-of-the box inventors. This builds on our Strategic ThinkBox we used in our planning process. The box below demonstrates how we need creative work that is focused on the target, fits with the brand, delivers the message, and executes the strategy. 

As marketers, we kick off the advertising process using a Creative Brief to define the box the creative advertising must play in. The execution align with the brand positioning work and deliver the brand strategy statements you wrote in your marketing planMoreover, we show examples of the good and bad of the Creative Brief. And, we introduce our Mini Brief for smaller projects and the Media Brief as part of media decisions. We have a Creative Brief template you can use. 

As marketers, we kick off the advertising process using a Creative Brief to define the box the creative advertising must play in. The execution align with the brand positioning work and deliver the brand strategy statements you wrote in your marketing planMoreover, we show examples of the good and bad of the Creative Brief. And, we introduce our Mini Brief for smaller projects and the Media Brief as part of media decisions. We have a Creative Brief template you can use. 

Use our Creative Checklist to determine if the creative work is in the box.

Then, we introduce a Creative Checklist that is designed to help you make advertising decisions. When you see the creative marketing execution come back from your experts, use our creative checklist to make decisions. Next, use your feedback to your marketing experts to steer the ideas back in-the-box. Importantly, the Creative Checklist highlights the gaps you see. Your role is to provide your problems with the work, while avoiding providing a solution. Let your creative marketing execution experts use their in-the-box creativity to figure out new solutions that will fit the box. 

To illustrate, click to review how our Creative Checklist helps decide if the creative advertising fits the box..

Use our ABC's of Advertising: Attention, brand link, communication stickiness

Here are four questions to ask:

  • First, is it the creative idea that earns the consumer’s attention for the ad?
  • Then, is the creative idea helping to drive maximum brand link?
  • Next, is the creative idea setting up the communication of the main consumer benefit?
  • And, is the creative idea memorable enough to stick in the consumer’s mind and move them to purchase?

To illustrate, click on the ABC’s of advertising to see details.

Get comfortable with various advertising techniques.

Learn how to be better at advertising. Explore other advertising ideas such as emotional advertisinghumorous ads, feel-good ads, and ads that bring consumer insights to lifeMoreover, read how to conduct your own marketing research, social media plans, or using influencers.  

Video on how to use in-the-box creativity

Have a look at our video on how to use in-the-box creativity to ensure our marketing execution stays on strategy. We introduce how our Creative Brief defines the box the work must play in. And, our Creative Checklist to allow you to decide if the marketing execution delivers. To read more, click on this link: How to use in-the-box creativity. 

To view, use the ▶️ controls to play our brand strategy video. 

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