John Lewis Christmas ad: Marketers give their reactions

John Lewis looks to be onto another Christmas ad winner if reaction on social media is anything to go by but what do marketers think of the campaign?

According to data from BrandWatch, the John Lewis ad was mentioned more than 23,000 times on social media in the two hours after its launch – with the biggest spike at 8.47am when there were 407 mentions.

In total Christmas ads were mentioned 28,000 times before 9am, with John Lewis taking a 52% share of voice, ahead of M&S on 22% (although the retailer had not actually released its ad then) and Lidl, also on 22%.

But what do marketers make of the ad? We asked top marketers from the Post Office, eHarmony, Telefonica and Virgin Games for their verdict.

Jonathan Earle, Telefonica

I should say that like thousands of other marketers I love the John Lewis ads. The previous advert [for John Lewis insurance] based around the Tiny Dancer soundtrack was beautiful, plays superbly to families with young children and the latest ad is a further build on this.

It’s more classical in pushing togetherness at Christmas (and doesn’t have cartoon creatures this year) but once again stands out as it doesn’t sell a product, doesn’t smack you in the face and say ‘buy this now’ – it just makes you smile, which is a breath of fresh air.

Whether myth or legend, John Lewis plan their Christmas ad 9-12 months in advance and that is a lesson to us all who fly by the seat of our pants to get things out the door. I (personally) preferred Tiny Dancer as that is my household with a 7 and 9 year old but this will be a winner.

Pete Markey, Post Office

I came a little wearily to this year’s ad concerned about whether a winning formula had run its course. But I really like the new ad because the message it conveys feels heartfelt and genuine and the partnership with Age UK is inspired. Put simply it takes the winning formula to a new level at just the right time.

The simple truth that everyone matters and everyone deserves to be loved and given a gift is beautifully conveyed. For me it’s a winner.


Romain Bertrand, eHarmony

#ManOnTheMoon delivers all the things we’ve come to expect from a John Lewis Christmas ad. Beautiful creative. Great music choice. High production value. It does what great TV ads and brands should do – it reminds us that John Lewis is a brand full of purpose, and for 60 seconds it allows viewers to switch off, dream and tap into the palpable emotion of giving at Christmas.

John Lewis have become experts in relating to popular culture themes, and the space theme this year is no different. The ad feels consistent with the Bear and a Hare in 2013, and Monty the Penguin last year; the result of the advertiser’s close and lasting relationship with agency Adam and Eve.

The danger with the John Lewis Christmas ad saga is possibly that viewers’ expectations are growing every year – with 2014 being literally off the charts in terms of social buzz & earned media. #ManOnTheMoon was already trending at 8am this morning.

This ad is more rooted in the real – the issue of older people being alone is far removed from a Disney inspired living penguin. The ad delivers emotion – but is at odds with past, more light-touch sentiment creatives; with that said it’ll be interesting to see how audiences respond to this change of tact.”

Paul Troy, Virgin Games

I was looking forward to seeing the new John Lewis ad almost as much as Christmas itself. And it was always going to be tough to beat last years “Monty the Penguin”.

However like last year, it’s another tear jerker perfect for the festive season. I have no doubt it will standout from the clutter of the other retailers and keep the Christmas No.1 ad firmly in John Lewis’s hands.

It’s an ad built on a great insight that Christmas brings people together young and old. Children in particular have really strong bonds with their grandparents so this will resonate with both of them.

The creatives have told this story well with every element hanging together to hook the viewer in from start to finish. For example, the present that arrives for the man on the moon is a telescope so that he can connect with the young girl on earth for Christmas.

The ending will no doubt bring a tear to many of us this Christmas, and that’s powerful as it creates real emotional engagement with John Lewis.

I can definitely see this being a big hit on the Gogglebox sofas this Christmas.


Lidl launches Christmas ad on social media over TV

Thomas Hobbs

Lidl debuts its #SchoolOfChristmas campaign today (1 November) as the German discounter shifts its brand message to show consumers how they can get the most out of Christmas with festive culinary lessons on how to make the most out of leftovers and safely light a Christmas pudding.


There is one comment at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Whilst you cannot question the production quality of this year’s advert, or the touching storytelling and sentimental, heart-string-tugging play with audience emotions – I wish that the team at John Lewis had made the connection with Age UK a little more explicit – why not include the Age UK logo somewhere in the film, or mention the campaign to highlight loneliness amongst seniors more apparent. It is only when you visit the JL website and then scroll down the page that you discover what JL is supporting.

    With the majority of viewers going to come from a TV audience – I don’t think they are necessarily going to make the connection. Only if you are aware of it on social media, interested in finding out more on the John Lewis website (if you shop with them online) or are in the industry will you, in the majority, know what the relationship is.

    On its own, on TV, it still looks like an emotional tug to encourage you to buy more from John Lewis (I expect telescopes will sell well this year).

    Come on John Lewis – be proud of your support of Age UK and give them more airtime – don’t hide it away as if it is an aside.

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