People have varying opinions on what marks the start of the festive season, but for many, it is the release of the John Lewis Christmas advert.
The retailer’s TV adverts have proved to be a hit every year, with the short film often telling an emotional and heart-warming story that is designed to spread some festive cheer.
And this year’s campaign is no different, having been inspired by the kindness shown by the UK public during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
What is 2020’s advert about?
This year, John Lewis and Waitrose will have two adverts, running under the strapline, “Give a Little Love.” Both will encourage viewers to support those around them over Christmas.
The main two minute long advert opens with a boy whose football has become stuck in a tree, and moves through a series of acts of kindness.
The advert is made up of nine different vignettes, created by eight different artists (Image: John Lewis)
The ad is a celebration of different forms of moving art, switching from live action to various styles of animation, claymation and CGI.
The scenes are connected to create a long chain of giving, as each section passes the campaign’s heart emblem on to the next part of the film, illustrating how acts of kindness can multiply and positively impact the world as we pass them on to others.
It is made up of nine different vignettes, created by eight different artists in a nod to the creative industries which have been particularly hard hit this year. Instead of a single production team, multiple artists were chosen to give employment to many people across the industry.
In another step away from its traditional approach, for the first time the advert includes a specially commissioned song that was written and recorded by British soul singer, Celeste.
Each section passes the campaign’s heart emblem on to the next part of the film (Image: John Lewis)
Titled A Little Love, 10p from each download of the song will be given to charity.
A complementary 30 second advert has also been produced as a direct call to support the charities FareShare and HomeStart, which both help families in need. The charities will use these donations to provide food, comfort, support and advice to at least 100,000 UK families, with the John Lewis Partnership aiming to raise £4 million.
Customers will be encouraged to ‘give a little love’ in five different ways - making a charity donation, buying campaign products with 100 per cent of profit donated to the charities, using their loyalty card to increase the Partnership’s donation, giving a little love to someone they know who needs it, and helping in their local community.
The advert will first be broadcast on TV on the evening of Saturday 14 November (Image: John Lewis)
Customer donations up to the value of £2 million will be match funded by a donation from the John Lewis Partnership.
James Bailey, executive director of Waitrose, said, “Each year festive adverts come and go - and some are remembered more vividly than others. But our advertising this year will leave a lasting legacy - and in that way, we hope it won’t just be for Christmas.”
“We did consider whether it was right to produce an ad this year at all. However, FareShare and Home-Start, told us how much of a difference this campaign could make, both on a financial level and in raising awareness of the incredibly important work they do with families across the UK.”
The ad is a celebration of different forms of moving art (Image: John Lewis)
How to watch
The adverts became available to watch online from the morning of Friday 13 November, and will first be broadcast on TV on the evening of Saturday 14 November, during The Voice on ITV.
You can watch the advert here.
A range of ‘Give A Little Love’ merchandise, including a heart shaped umbrella like the one featured in the advert, is now on sale on the Waitrose and John Lewis websites, and in stores, with all profits from sales going to the appeal.