John Lewis unveils Christmas ‘love story’

John Lewis has unveiled its hotly anticipated Christmas TV ad campaign featuring a snowman love story to demonstrate going the extra mile to find the perfect gift this year.

The ad shows a snowman couple in a family garden, only for one snowman to disappear the next morning. It follows him on a journey through woodlands and across rivers until he eventually reaches the high street and enters John Lewis to buy his beloved a matching red scarf and gloves.

The final scenes show the snow couple reunited and smiling while a voiceover says: “Go the extra mile this year.”

Craig Inglis, John Lewis marketing director, told Marketing Week: “The truth of our brand is about thoughtful giving and we’ve articulated it in different ways each year. We’ve taken that same thought about what it means to go the extra mile at Christmas but articulated it with a twist that I hope people won’t expect. It’s important to raise the bar each year creatively, stay true to the brand, but move things on and try to surprise people.”

The soundtrack to the ad is a cover of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood track The Power of Love performed by unknown artist Gabrielle Aplin.

Inglis says “there’s no real science” to choosing the music behind its now famous Christmas spots, adding that “it’s whoever does the best track and really drives emotion.”

The department store is hoping to sell the CD single in stores for the first time this year. It will also be available for download.

John Lewis hopes to make a “confident statement” in its Christmas marketing this year through its TV, press, outdoor and in-store activity as well as the Annual, a glossy print title that brings together its Editions magazine and Christmas catalogue into one publication for the first time.

John Lewis will also run social media activity including competitions to win a holiday to New Zealand, where the ad was filmed, and for a family to get their garden ‘snowed up’ for Christmas day.

The pressure is on for John Lewis to maintain its run of successful Christmas advertising, and Inglis believes the real challenge is to keep it interesting year after year without straying from the brand’s values.

He says: “There’s no doubt it’s generated anticipation but I see it as a positive thing. It’s great, I feel the pressure – if you want to call it that – to move things on and keep it interesting, but I’m realistic about advertising. The reality is you can never please everyone all the time. We’ve been on the rich vein of success but you can’t always have it that way and we’re realistic about that.

“The core thought [in our ads] will never change. The reason we’ve been successful is that it speaks to a customer truth. People think it’s authentic, you get to the ending and they can believe the message is right for the brand. We will keep trying to raise the bar and move it on creatively and keep it interesting because we want to keep customers engaged. The thing is, if we go too different we get a bit of a backlash. People like what we are so we’re not going to start doing anything really different.”

John Lewis has for the first time run teaser trailers for the ad this week on Channel 4 ahead of its first showing tomorrow (9 November).

The ad was created by Adamandeveddb.


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