It's that time of year again...

It’s that time of year again, the infamous release of the John Lewis Christmas Ad. Of course it wouldn’t be a JL Christmas ad without the usual tug of the heartstrings (our accounts team have already been in floods of tears this morning over it).

This year’s emotional roller-coaster features an elderly man on the moon looking down at Earth and a young girl named Lily staring at the moon through her telescope. However, this year the marketers at John Lewis have done their research, as Christmas this year will see a full moon. And guess what, you can buy the telescope that was featured in the TV ad from John Lewis for a casual £99.95! Personally, I preferred Monty the Penguin (and he was £5 cheaper).

What is it about John Lewis’s Christmas ads that makes us all wait with anticipation as soon as November rolls round? Before JL, we used to focus on the Coca Cola Christmas truck (excuse the Americanism) as “the start of Christmas”. How has one brand managed to get so many people (including me) writing Facebook status updates and countdowns as to when the new ad will launch?

Their perfect combination of brand values, storytelling and music is how. Every advert they have released since 2007 all carry that same story - “about thoughtful giving”. Let’s take a look at some of their closing tag lines over the years.

2011: The Long Wait : Watch here
Tag line: for gifts you can’t wait to give

2012: The Journey : Watch here
Tag Line: Give a little more love this Christmas

2013: The Bear and the Hare : Watch here
Tag line: Give someone a Christmas they’ll never forget

2014: Monty the penguin : Watch here
Tag line: Give someone the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of

2015: Man on the moon : Watch here
Tag line: Show someone they’re loved this Christmas

This idea or rather strategy of keeping your brand cohesive is what we preach to our clients. Retaining the same underlying message through all advertising is a great way for a brand to build authority and how they can keep their audience so engaged year after year. It’s how you build loyalty and trust.

This is also how John Lewis can get away with indirectly selling their merchandise from their hotly anticipated TV advert each year. Their adverts are not made to be “look at all this stuff we sell that you can buy at Christmas”, it’s “about thoughtful giving”. Clever how marketers can spin things isn’t it?

Look at 2014’s Monty the Penguin for example. Not only could thousands of children and parents go out and buy Monty, you could also buy Mabel, cufflinks, printed t-shirts, cushions, mugs…the list is endless. How thoughtful were all these gifts I wonder…?

However not to be too cynical, this year’s campaign is working alongside Age UK to raise awareness of loneliness among older people. It’s this final element of CSR that completes the circle of authenticity for John Lewis and makes them hard to knock. It also allows the consumer to feel they too are giving back to society through any purchases made from this campaign. Hats off John Lewis, you make a lot of people feel good – and will no doubt make a mint out of Christmas too.


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