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Christmas Advertising - How John Lewis Play With our Emotions to Great Effect

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Christmas Advertising - How John Lewis Play With our Emotions to Great Effect

Beyond Pixels

The annual Christmas Advert from John Lewis never fails to deliver a heart-warming minute or so of emotive viewing which has even the most flint-hearted of Scrooges reaching for the tissues (and frequently, as John Lewis envisage, also reaching for their cards to spread some joy through seasonal buying). So what is it about these ads which tug at the heart strings and give them such irresistible appeal? Read on to discover the common themes which turn a marketing ad into something special.

2011 – The Gift is in the Giving

A series of endearing scenes show a small boy impatiently waiting for Christmas, the time when he can give his parents their present. John Lewis uses a skilful combination of a character and scenario with whom nearly all parents can identify coupled with an intriguing storyline which features an unexpected twist. Underpinning the ad is the message that it’s better to give than to receive.

2012 – Givers Value Their Loved Ones

A snowman embarks on a perilous journey to bring his snow girlfriend a warm hat and gloves (from John Lewis, of course) as a token of his affections. Touches of magic in addition to an endearing demonstration of love are just two of the powerful ingredients in this beautifully made ad. Seasonal scenes, a complete story and characters you can’t help but love (who can resist a snowman with feelings?) all help make this ad a success. 

2013 – Thoughtful Gifts Make Everyone Happy

The bear misses out on the fun of Christmas every year, due to his hibernating habits. That is until the hare buys him an alarm clock as a present, which wakes him up in time to join in the festivities with the other forest animals. Friendship, love and being together at Christmas are all strongly emotive concepts which this ad brings together wonderfully well. Throw in an entertaining storyline and superb animation as well as two main characters that clearly care deeply for each other, and John Lewis succeed in evoking a strong reaction in all of us.

2014 – Everyone Needs Someone to Love

What could be better than being gifted the perfect significant other? This is exactly what happens when a little boy notices his penguin wants a special friend and buys him his dream penguin partner from John Lewis. In common with previous years, appealing main characters, a good storyline and an underlying message that thoughtful gifting can bring happiness fuse to give an ad which never fails to delight.

Anticipation, love, happiness, friendship and thoughtfulness are all qualities which are clearly showcased in these ads. There is also an innocent, child-like quality to the characters and storyline which is deeply endearing and that gently reminds us of the reasons why we should enjoy giving at Christmas. Cynical marketing, an embodiment of the spirit of Christmas or somewhere in between, there’s little doubt that this year’s offering from John Lewis is as compelling, if not more so, than its predecessors.