By Josh Makuch, December 2015
When John Lewis started their annual tradition of releasing their Christmas advert, they probably didn’t anticipate or predict the level of success and commercial impact that they have generated now eight years on. To help coincide with this years ‘Man on the Moon’ captivation, we take a look back at all nine adverts, ranked in order of production greatness.
9- Shadows (2007)
The first John Lewis Christmas campaign showed a group of employees placing products in a carefully assorted pile that ends up looking like a woman in winter attire walking her dog in the snow. This campaign showed intent, as this became John Lewis’ biggest-ever seasonal campaign at the time with £6million spent.
8 – From Me to You (2008)
2008’s seasonal campaign was the year John Lewis brought in the cultured musical element to their production with a cover of The Beatles song ‘From Me to You’ by the John Lewis Musical Society. The advert itself had the tagline, ‘If you know the person, you’ll find the present’ and it is also important to note that this is the first year Craig Inglis, now John Lewis’ Marketing Director, became visibly active within the brands advertisement.
7- Sweet Child O’ Mine (2009)
Continuing the year-by-year improvement, John Lewis’ 2009 campaign introduced the narrative approach to their ad direction. The advert shows scenes of children playing with Christmas gifts intended for adults with the tagline ‘Remember how Christmas used to feel? Give someone that feeling.’ The campaign cost £5million, included a folk cover of ‘ Sweet Child O’ Mine’ by Taken By Trees which peaked at no. 23 in UK Chart, and helped to drive a Christmas sales increase by 12.7%.
6- Rocking Horse (2010)
This festive advert showed the efforts people go to during Christmas to surprise their loved ones and featured a cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ by Ellie Goulding, which peaked at no.2 in the UK charts. The advert also gained more than 900,000 hits on its original YouTube video, which demonstrated the viral impact emerging.
5- Man On The Moon (2015)
#ManOnTheMoon’s £7million advertising campaign features a cover of Oasis’ ‘Half The World Away’ by relatively unknown Norwegian artist Aurora and tells the tale of a young girl spotting an old man located on the moon whilst looking through her telescope. This year’s advert tends to leave a level of mystery and intriguement to the identity of the old man, as opposed to previous years that have driven more emotional responses, which will be detailed more further on.
Note: This year on Christmas Day there will be a full moon in the sky, the first time this has happened since 1977 and it won’t happen for another 19 years. Happy coincidence, or just careful planning by John Lewis…
4- The Journey (2012)
The theme of love is heavily absorbed in 2012’s seasonal campaign ‘The Journey’ which follows a snowman’s epic journey to find the perfect wooly gift for his snow-girlfriend with Gabrielle Aplin’s no.1 cover of ‘The Power of Love’ accompanying. The YouTube hits are currently at just over 6million for this advert and it helped to produce a 13% rise in sales during the five weeks until the end of December compared to the previous year.
3- Monty The Penguin (2014)
Never before would I have believed that a £7million ad campaign about an adorable penguin trying to find love would pull so much at my heartstrings. John Lewis’ 2014 festive campaign followed the story of love and friendship as a boy tried to discover what was wrong with his love-estranged penguin buddy, set to Tom Odell’s cover of another Beatles track ‘Real Love’, which reached no.7 in the UK charts. The campaign featured the trending, #MontyThePenguin, and it’s reported £18million alone was made alone from stuffed penguin sales!
2- The Long Wait (2011)
John Lewis’ 2011 Christmas Campaign was the one that detailed how much their marketing team had upped their game! This moving advert was massively successful online and the store’s sales mirrored the ad’s popularity with sales rising up to 9.3% in the five weeks leading up to the end of December. The campaign also features a warming Slow Moving Millie cover of ‘ Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want’ by The Smiths, which peaked at no.31 in the charts.
1- The Bear and the Hare (2013)
Creatively, John Lewis went big with their 2013 seasonal campaign that left you with a feeling of warmth and love, whilst also sending twitter into meltdown the day it was released with the trending #SleepingBear. This helped put like-for-like sales up 6.9% compared to Christmas 2012 and sent Lily Allen’s cover of Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know’, which accompanied the advert, to no.1 in the charts. The advert itself featured a Disney/Animals of Farthing Wood influenced style of 2D animation and depicts a hare determined to see his friend the bear experience his first Christmas.