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 idea. The ending is very heartwarming. It has millions of views so far, and there will be lots of tears. To read more about using humor in your ads, click on this link: Ads with humor.

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. 

Using a song to tell your story is fine, 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 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 at the 2011 ad below, and tell me if it is boring. Alternatively, did the people at John Lewis get bored with your own brand?

To read about how to find ads that capture attention, click on this hyperlink: Attention-getting ads

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. To read about ads that stick, click on this hyperlink: Ads that stick.

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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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. It tells the story very emotionally and communicates the art of giving, which is what the season should be about. To read more about emotional advertising, click this hyperlink: Emotional Ads

2010 John Lewis Christmas ad: Your song

This Christmas ad is also a great one from 2010. The storytelling improved over the 2009 spot, and Ellie Goulding’s cover of “Your Song” is incredible. The multiple stories throughout the spot give it that “Love Actually” quality. To read about ads communicating the main message, click on this hyperlink: Ads that communicate.

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. 

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