It’s one of the annual traditions I’ve looked forward to for the past few years, the release of the John Lewis (a British retailer) Christmas commercial. This year feels a little bit extra special after spending last winter in London and getting to visit the John Lewis flagship store on Oxford Street.
This year is the first time that John Lewis has used a celebrity in its commercial, partnering with another British icon – Elton John. John Lewis hired long-standing contributor and communications agency adam&eveDDB to complete the project.
The Boy & The Piano opens with 71-year-old Sir Elton sitting at a piano at home, playing the first few notes of his famous hit Your Song. From there, it works backward through his life, from some of his best-known gigs, to him in the recording studio, and finally to him as a young boy receiving a piano from his mother and grandmother for Christmas. It ends with Sir Elton sitting at the same piano in the present day and the tagline: “Some gifts are more than just a gift.”
Here’s the commercial:
It’s another winner for John Lewis, but it feels a bit different than its commercials from previous years. I don’t see a hit product coming out of the commercial, like Monty the Penguin (my favorite) or Moz the Monster. I doubt if John Lewis is planning to push pianos this holiday season. As the Evening Standard points out, “They’ve sacrificed what a festive advert should do – entice shoppers in to store – and been seduced by a huge star. It’ll no doubt make headlines around the world, but will it get people shopping? Only time will tell.”
Despite that, Craig Inglis, Partner and Customer Director, John Lewis & Partners points out what the real purpose of the commercial is: “Think back to all of the Christmases that you have enjoyed over the years – I’m sure there is one very special gift that stands out above all others. That’s the magical feeling we wanted to bring to life this year. The ad tells the story of why Elton’s piano was more than just a gift and we hope to remind customers of that special moment when they’ve given a gift at Christmas time that they know will be treasured forever.”
The commercial did make me think back to some great Christmas presents I received while growing up, like a new bike one year and an electronics kit another year. It also helped remind my wife and me of the joy we felt giving our own kids presents that seemed to resonate with them.
So thank you to John Lewis for rekindling some great memories.
And speaking of some great memories, here are some of the John Lewis commercials from past years (Monty the Penguin is at the end).
*image from Digital Spy