Famed as the signifier of the impending Yuletide season, John Lewis’ Christmas advert has hit TV screens for 2020, but it was not always certain the festive feel-good would make the cut.
This year, the luxury department store, along with its supermarket chain Waitrose, took inspiration from the kindness shown by the nation as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
Featuring nine scenes, including animation, claymation and CGI, the ‘Give A Little Love’ film was created by eight artists in an effort to give employment to the creative industry, which has been hit hard by shutdowns due to Covid-19.
The storyline depicts how acts of kindness, illustrated by a young girl, animated snowman, hip pigeon and others, can multiply and positively impact the world.
Meanwhile, each of the vignettes and are connected through the passing of the campaign’s heart.
The ad also encourages Britons to help the retailers raise £4m for two charities, Home-Start, for parents in need of support, and FareShare, to tackle food poverty.
Customer donations up to £2m will be matched by John Lewis, while a further £1m fund has been created to ensure all the retailer’s shops actively partner with FareShare and Home-Start in the communities they serve.
“The pandemic has highlighted the growing inequalities across the country, with those who are already most vulnerable disproportionately impacted,” said James Bailey, Executive Director at Waitrose.
“Through our partnership with FareShare and Home-Start we’re aiming to make a big difference to the lives of 100,000 families in the UK.”
However, according to Bailey, the jury was out as to whether the ad would go ahead at all this year.
“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.”
For 2020, the retailers have also added a 30 second complementary advert, produced by four post-graduate students from Kingston University, as a direct call to support the two charities.
“We recently set out our ambition for our business to be a force for good – so we decided that this year was the year to break the mould and do something different,” added John Lewis’ Executive Director Pippa Wicks.
“We have a long tradition of helping support the communities which we serve, so as we launch one of the best loved assets, our Christmas ad, it’s fitting to take this one step further by working hand in hand with two incredible charities supporting families in need.”
Meanwhile, British Brit Award-winning singer Celeste becomes the first musician to pen an original soundtrack for John Lewis’ Christmas ad.
In previous years, the company has hired Bastille’s Dan Smith, Elton John and Lily Allen for the advert's soundtrack.