John Lewis: Give a little….explanation

The John Lewis Christmas Advert launched yesterday. I watched it, waiting for the goosebumps to kick in and they……didn’t. This year it’s a great example of why you need all marketing channels to work together to get your message across.

I felt that the call to action of ‘Give a little love’, sharing kindness etc is something that is everywhere at the moment. The British public have already been doing a lot of this in 2020 from supporting the NHS to getting behind Marcus Rashford’s great campaign for school meal vouchers. Creatively I found it a bit of a mish mash and the song didn’t become an earworm like previous years.

So I was all ready to write a blog about how it was too obvious and a bit cheesy. I’d seen some marketing publication headlines saying John Lewis had ‘broken the mould’ with this one. I started to read one such article so that I could see where I was going to contradict it, and then I learnt more about the ad.

  1. They are aiming to raise £4m for Home-start and FareShare – they are asking people to donate online or by text. The good news is, John Lewis will match donations up to £2m – so it actually isn’t all on us to raise it!
  2. What I thought was a ‘mish mash’ is actually 9 vignettes by 8 artists to ‘showcase and support a diverse range of creative talent in what has been a hugely difficult year for the industry.’ – ok that’s pretty cool
  3. The song was written specifically for the campaign and 10p from every download will be donated
  4. Shopping with your loyalty card makes a 1p per transaction donation
  5. They will be selling campaign merchandise with 100% of profits donated to the campaign
  6. The companion charity video was created by postgraduate students from Kingston University and explains a lot more about what they’re doing. See below.

Having read all this I have a much better understanding of what they are doing but it does highlight how important an integrated campaign is. If I were to just see the main advert on TV and nothing else, it wouldn’t have told me enough or inspired me into action.

The advert premieres on TV this evening and I will be watching with interest to see how they weave the message through everything John Lewis and Waitrose do between now and Christmas. I hope they smash their fundraising target as they’re two fantastic charities!

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