John Lewis on the journey to make its advertising iconic throughout the year

The department store giant hopes its new ‘National Treasures’ campaign can kick start a new era, where its marketing isn’t just built around Christmas.

John Lewis has launched a new in-store Summer campaign, which aims to celebrate the quirks of being British via illustrations by artist Paul Thurlby.

Set to run until 20 August, the summer campaign will be brought to life across all 48 John Lewis shops and features window displays (see above) as well as cardboard cut-outs –of which 220 life size characters will appear throughout the Oxford Street store – that show quirky interpretations of Brits enjoying scenes such as the British seaside.

As part of the campaign, there will also be more than 100 in-store events across the UK, which will include Summer-themed Q&As, workshops, a ‘national treasury’ pop-up and interactive masterclasses for perfecting BBQs. The brand’s flagship Oxford Street store, meanwhile, will open the nation’s smallest pub, the ‘Gardeners Arms’, at its ‘John Lewis Gardening Society’ rooftop.

While the campaign will primarily be promoted through in-store marketing, there are plans to potentially extend ‘National Treasures’ to above-the-line channels as well.

Speaking to Marketing Week, John Lewis’s director of customer experience Peter Cross says the aim is to make its shops more “compelling, year-round destinations”.

He explains: “It would be nice if the John Lewis front shop window could become a real destination like Selfridges or Harrods.

How the John Lewis ‘National Treasures’ campaign will be represented in-store

“Summer is a period we perhaps haven’t put as much energy into in the past and that’s something we now want to change. This campaign is about showing John Lewis really gets the quirks of British summertime and making the in-store experience something unique compared to our online.”

Cross is only a few weeks into the role, having been promoted from director of communications. And he says his underlying aim is to make John Lewis’s marketing as iconic for seasons outside of the Christmas period, where it traditionally thrives.

“It’s great that we’ve become renowned for Christmas, but we need our marketing to stand out throughout the year; I hope National Treasures can be the start of that journey. It’s 100% my aim to try to make our advertising and retail experience as iconic around a different season,” he adds.

John Lewis saw its pre-tax profits rise 21.2% to £370.4m in 2016, with overall sales for the partnership up 3.2%. However, in a bid to prepare for a difficult post-Brexit environment, it controversially cut bonus pay for its 86,700 staff for the fourth year running.