Conversations around Christmas advertising might start in January, but by the time March came around John Lewis and Waitrose knew they had to do something “entirely different” this year.
The retailers were in the early planning phases when the pandemic hit and were yet to decide on an idea, much less a script. Unlike previous years, where they might see hundreds of concepts before deciding on the right one, this year focusing on the acts of kindness shown across the UK during Covid-19 was the only script in town.
Waitrose’s senior marketing manager, Joanne Massey, explains: “We see hundreds of scripts every year, but we were very much in the early planning phases when the pandemic hit. It was just a natural evolution as we took inspiration from the acts of kindness occurring across the country. Our social initiative platform ‘Give a little love’ is something that gradually evolved over the course of the summer.”
While the campaign may be a product of 2020, Massey is keen to make clear this ad is “not just for Christmas”. She believes it taps into John Lewis’s wider strategy, revealed earlier this year, to be a more purposeful brand that has a positive impact on society.