Written by Jessica Morris
Photo courtesy of John Lewis Partnership
‘Come quick it’s on!’. We’ve all heard it. The moment the first person in the house sees the iconic John Lewis Christmas Advert hit our screens for the first time that year. These annual Christmas adverts have become a much-loved festive tradition in the UK and have come a long way since their 2007 debut.
Given that these iconic campaigns have traditionally been influenced by the events of their year and partnerships with charities, speculation of the theme of the 2020 advert left our minds blown. So much has happened throughout this crazy year, from the coronavirus pandemic to major social and political shifts.
This year we have seen the unlawful killing of George Floyd spark strangers all over the world to campaign and join the Black Lives Matter movement. We have seen footballer Marcus Rashford campaign to feed hungry children in the UK throughout school holidays. We have seen initiatives and charities emerge and grow to support those affected mentally, physically and financially by the pandemic. Alongside all of the heartbreak this year, if we remember where to look, empathy and support have been radiating throughout.
In this year’s much-awaited advert, beautiful acts of real life kindness were transported into a magical claymation world. The two minute story shows us a long string of generous acts between complete strangers. Despite receiving a mixed reaction online, no-one can deny that the sentiment is there. 2020 has been a year of loss, hardship and fear for so many people across the world. Kindness has been crucial to getting people through it.
It was expected that the long running tradition of the John Lewis advert may have been compromised this year due to the pandemic, but they didn’t let us down. Opting for a more modest and simple theme, this years advert would of done itself an injustice by attempting to relate to the complexities that we’ve lived through this year. Sensibly, it adresses only one, the power of kindness.
The charities partnered up for the advert with Waitrose and John Lewis this year were Home-Start and FareShare. This partnership aims to collect donations to help thousands of families in need this Christmas, after what has been a particularly difficult year for so many.
The John Lewis Adverts of Christmas’ Past
We all have our favourites but each year the high street retailer never fails to provide the nation with heart-warming christmassy loveliness. Here is a rundown of the John Lewis creations leading up to this year…
2007 – 2008 This is where it all started. “Whoever you’re looking for this Christmas” was the tagline of the 2007 advert, which creatively demonstrated the variety of gifts available for all ages. The 2008 advert was similar in its messaging and displayed real people rather than characters of creative mediums. Both of these ad’s were very product based and much less story-like than what was to come…
2009 – 2013 These years showed a shift towards the more fuzzy, warm and personal parts of christmas. The themes began to pull on our heartstrings more, with their main selling point being the act of ‘giving’ itself. In harmony with evolving technology, these adverts became more and more creative and fantastical.
The 2012 advert warmed hearts across the nation when it featured a snowman battling the treacherous elements in ‘The Journey’ just to give his female snow-friend the perfect gift. Followed by ‘The Bear And The Hare’ in 2013, which showed a sweet story of friendship to the warming tune of Lily Allen’s cover of ‘Somewhere Only We Know’. Magical stuff.
2014 – 2019 2014 was the year we saw the introduction of the hashtag. Starting with #MontyThePenguin, a display of the power of children’s imagination through a rather adorable love story. These years showed advancements in animation and deepened meanings, we saw the christmas magic really start to overflow from these much-loved adverts.
It is important to look back on this year and remember what we all went through, but also to remember how often it brought out the best in people. Whether we get to eat a turkey dinner with our extended families or not, Christmas isn’t cancelled and neither is kindness.