• Ingrid Christie

What’s So Special About the John Lewis Christmas Advert This Year?

Updated: Nov 30, 2020


When asked to write an article about ‘positive news’, I tried extremely hard for approximately 8 seconds to not think about Christmas. The result? This article discussing why the 2020 Christmas Adverts are a light we all needed at the end of a very long tunnel.


The John Lewis Christmas advert has become an iconic feature of the festive season. The Advertising Association reported that 1/3 of Brits are just as excited about the premiere of a Christmas advert as they are about a film release, with one in six people having changed their plans to watch the premiere of their favourite Christmas advert. But what makes this one so important?


The theme for the advert this year is “Give a little love”, inspired by the kindness shown by the British public during the pandemic. A spokesperson from John Lewis explained “the scenes are connected to create a long chain of giving, as each film passes the campaign’s heart emblem on to the next part of the film”, illustrating “how acts of kindness, large and small, can multiply and positively impact the world in which we live, as we pass them on to others”.


What sets this year’s advert apart from previous years is its celebration of different types of moving art, featuring Claymation, animation, CGI and cinematography, utilised in 9 segments created by 8 different artists. “The unique approach was chosen in a spirit of kindness towards the creative industry which has been hard hit by the pandemic. Instead of a single production team, multiple artists were selected, giving employment to many people across the creative industry.” John Lewis is also intending to raise £4m for two charities as a result of the campaign; FareShare, which helps those facing food poverty, and Home-Start which supports parents in need.


John Lewis isn’t the only one creating a philanthropic Christmas campaign this year. Sainsbury’s “Brighten a Million Christmases” initiative invites customers to donate food, money and other essential items, and will match every donation, doubling every customer’s contribution. Similarly, M&S is donating £2 million of the profit from its 2020 Christmas campaign to various charities. The Notonthehighstreet advert focuses on the importance of supporting small businesses over the festive season, a part of the economy that has suffered hugely from the national lockdowns and local restrictions. The advert encourages cherishing the simple moments of connection that have become even more important this year as a result of the pandemic.


The Advertising Association chief executive Stephen Woodford says “Our Christmas advertising season is the envy of the world, thanks to the brilliant, creative talent working in our industry. The joy of this advertising period, seeing what brands bring out each year, is an integral part of a great British Christmas.”


Aside from supporting the UK creative industry, research shows that every £1 spent on advertising returns £6 to the UK economy, revealing the wider importance of the big companies’ campaigns. Although the Christmas advertising spend this year may be lower due to the pandemic, it could be a much-needed injection into the UK economy in a year where it’s expected to shrink by 9.8% (IMF).


The sheer impact of the yearly Christmas campaigns is shown by nearly half of Brits (47%) admitting to being moved to tears by a Christmas advert (Advertising Association). This year, the adverts provide support for struggling industries and vital charities during the pandemic. They also carry extra importance in the messages they are conveying, with the need for positivity, empathy and community more than ever before. So, all that’s left to decide is…


Which is your favourite?


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