John Lewis: A National Christmas Event

The Start of John Lewis

And we start off back in 2007, where we saw John Lewis return to our screens after a three-year break from our screens, with by far and away its biggest ever seasonal campaign, which was estimated to have cost them £6 million at the time.

The ads, by Loew London, depicted presents being stacked in such aa way that they created the shape of people for whom they were apt. The message of the ad was that John Lewis would help people find the perfect presents for the people they love.

Craig Inglis Enters

We will now skip forward a year to 2008, a year that for John Lewis would prove to be huge, why? Well, this was the year when Craig Inglis – today John Lewis’ marketing director became more visibly active in the brand’s advertising. He told marketing at the time that they needed to avoid images of excessive consumerism, and instead focus on the storytelling behind the ads. This is of course ever present in all of the John Lewis ads since.

But the first one that really showcased this direction was of course in 2008. Once again created by Loew London the ads showed a series of demographics and ethnic groups interspersed with images of their perfect gifts with a cover of The Beatles song “From Me to You” in the background.

John Lewis Becomes a Christmas Event

For the next few years we saw John Lewis grow more and more in scale with some noteworthy ads such as the first Adam & Eve advert from 2009 which depicted a girl becoming a woman with Sweet Child O’ Mine in the background.

There was also the 2011 advert named The Long Wait, which showed a child counting down the days until he could give his parents a Christmas present, this was the first time that they came up with a full-blown narrative within their advert. The strategy paid off with the advert gaining huge traction online passing the 1 million views mark within days of its launch. This was the start of the John Lewis we know today, where they started utilising full blown narratives more and more.

This narrative form has continued ever since, with each ad showcasing a completely new outlook on Christmas, with Monty the Penguin for example, John Lewis aiming to touch bases with people who were alone at Christmas by having a kid named Sam help find his best friend Monty the Penguin a partner. And, the superbly shot Man on the moon advert aiming to showcase how some lonely elder people may feel at Christmas.

So, that was how I believe we saw John Lewis rise to the top of the Christmas Marketing tree over the last 12 years. What do you expect to see from John Lewis next Christmas? Let us know in the comments below.

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