Every year since 2007, British department store John Lewis has kicked off the Christmas shopping season with a gigantic, big-budget, over-the-top Christmas ad. This year is no exception, as The Daily Telegraph’s Harry Wallop reports.
The ad features a snowman, who goes on a journey, trekking across fields, rivers and mountains before before finding himself in a big, bad city. Only in the last frame of the advert does it become apparent that the snowman has been on a mission to John Lewis to do his Christmas shopping for his snow woman.
Though the company and its advertising agency, AdamAndEveDDB, ensures that the John Lewis brand does not actually feature anywhere in the 90-second advert, except in a final frame.
The advert was filmed during the summer in New Zealand, one of the few places guaranteed to be snowy in July, according John Lewis’s marketing director, Craig Inglis. The city scenes were filmed in Auckland, and the snow-covered country scenes near Queenstown. Part of the lavish budget was involved in shipping out British road signs and a red telephone box to New Zealand to ensure the city scenes looked authentically British.
The retailer, which did not advertise on the television until 2007, has won a reputation for creating memorable Christmas adverts, which have avoided the traditional fare of either celebrities or scenes of happy families gathered around the tree, which most of the high street chains favour.
Last year its tale of a boy desperately waiting for the big day so he could give a present to his parents was both widely praised and as well as parodied. On YouTube it garnered 4.32 million views.
Mr Inglis said that he was confident that people would not be disappointed that snowmen had replaced humans in this year’s advert.
“When you watch it again and again you grow to love the snowman and start to look him as a human, and you look him in the same way you did the kid last year. The snowman becomes a metaphor for that child.
“The fact is we have to keep it interesting.”
The snowman’s dauntless journey is accompanied by John Lewis’s now trademark soundtrack of a breathy, young, female covering a classic pop song. Last year it was Slow Moving Millie’s cover of The Smiths’ ‘Please, Please, Let me Get What I Want’. This year it is Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘The Power of Love’, sung by Gabrielle Aplin, a folk singer from Bath.
The advert, which has been trailed all week on Channel 4, will first be shown at 9.10pm on Friday during an advert break in Derren Brown’s new show.
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