The New John Lewis Christmas Ad Is Out – And It’s, Erm, Different

It’s Chrrrisssstmass!!! Well, not quite, but the new John Lewis ad has arrived, which is the official start of the UK festive celebrations.

After a turbulent year, John Lewis and Partners promised a very different kind of festive offering this Xmas – and they weren’t kidding.

This year the ad takes on a very different tone to previous campaigns, reflecting the mood of lockdown Britain in a montage of short clips, created using different animation styles.

Rather than putting the focus on a key product, which they’ve done in previous years — Christmas puddings, pianos and trampolines, to name a few — this time around the spot is focused on gestures of goodwill rather than giving physical gifts.

Accompanied by an original song, ‘A Little Love’ – written and performed by singer Celeste — the ad was launched today (13 November), which marks World Kindness Day and aligns with the campaign’s message, where people are encouraged to perform small acts of kindness for each other.

The retailer has also set a target to raise £4M for two UK charities; FareShare, an organisation committed to fighting hunger and food waste, and Home-Start, a local community network of trained volunteers offering expert support for families with young children through challenging times.

Hate it or love it, this is a big change for John Lewis and reflects many of the other festive ads we’ve seen this year, which have moved away from the traditional Holiday setting, as Christmas for Brits this year is going to be a very different affair from years gone by.

So how does it compare with previous John Lewis (and Waitrose) offerings — and will it win this year’s brands’ battle for Xmas?

John Lewis’ “Bear and the Hare”, from 2013, has still not been beaten, with a score of 48% for emotional engagement. Last year, “Excitable Edgar” came in seventh at 38%, and we’re excited to see if this different approach from the retail giant will move viewers in the same way that they have in previous years.

We are testing all of this year’s big festive campaigns using our content testing tool, UnrulyEQ, including ads from Disney, Lego, Coca-Cola and Amazon.

You can check out all the results as they come in through our new Holiday Ad Hub.