John Lewis and Waitrose ‘break the mould’ with Christmas ad encouraging us to spread kindness

The retailers say their annual Christmas ad takes inspiration from the generosity of the British public this year, with the aim of supporting those hit hardest by the pandemic.

John Lewis and Waitrose have teamed up on a Christmas ad for the second year in a row, this time encouraging the nation to spread kindness and help raise £4m for charity.

The campaign, which launches today (13 November) on National Kindness Day, takes inspiration from the generosity shown by the British public during the pandemic. Running under the strapline ‘Give A Little Love’, it aims to make a “lasting difference” to those hit hardest by the pandemic this year.

The two retailers are aiming to raise £4m for two charities: FareShare, which helps those facing food poverty, and Home-Start, which works with parents needing support. A further £1m will be donated by staff to local charities working to support families in their communities.

The marketing campaign aims to raise awareness of these charity partners and boost donations. The main ad, created by adam&eveDDB, looks to inspire the British public to give a little love to those around them and will be accompanied by an ad that carries a direct call-to-action to support the two charities.

John Lewis executive director Pippa Wicks says: “We recently set out our ambition for our business to be a force for good, so we decided this year was the year to break the mould and do something different.

“We have a long tradition of helping support the communities we serve, so as we launch one of the best loved assets, our Christmas ad, it’s fitting to take this one step further by working hand-in-hand with two incredible charities supporting families in need.”

The main ad features nine vignettes created by eight different artists highlighting moving art, including animation, CGI and cinematography. The aim, says John Lewis, is to showcase and support a diverse range of creative talent in what has been a hugely difficult year for the industry.

Those involved include French animator Sylvain Chomet and Chris Hopewell, who has created music videos for bands including Radiohead and Franz Ferdinand. The complementary charity spot was created by four post-graduate students from Kingston University.

The vignettes all show an act of giving, with each part passing the campaign’s heart emblem on to the next section of the film. The hope is that at least one of the sections will appeal to everyone from children upwards.

The campaign also features for the first time a new song, rather than the covers the John Lewis ad has become famous for. Written and recorded by British soul singer Celeste, the song is called A Little Love and will also be released today, with 10p from every download donated to the campaign.

Waitrose executive director James Bailey says: “Each year festive adverts come and go – and some are remembered more vividly than others. But our advertising this year will leave a lasting legacy, and in that way, we hope it won’t just be for Christmas.”

The campaign launches across social media today before its premier on TV on Saturday evening. It will also run across other media, and will be supported by more product-focused communications around themes such as gifting, decorating and food.

John Lewis and Waitrose will also be selling Give A Little Love merchandise, including a heart-shaped umbrella like the one that appears in the ad. Buying campaign products, where 100% of the profit will be donated to the charities, is just one way customers are being encouraged to support FareShare and Home-Start. Others include using their loyalty card or making their own donation, which John Lewis Partnership will match up to £2m.