The countdown’s begun! 5 of my favourite John Lewis Christmas Adverts

posted on 3rd Oct 2018 by Lorna Ryan McKeon

I never really paid much attention to Christmas ads growing up. Looking back, I guess Coca-Cola had established a style back in ‘god knows when’ and that was “the Christmas look” everyone followed. That is until that Christmas when everything changed. John Lewis, and the geniuses behind their powerful campaigns, brought back the magic! The inner child awoke and Christmas sparkled once more…

in 2007 John Lewis released its first Christmas TV advert. 2011 was the year when campaign creators Adam & Eve DDB took over and cemented John Lewis as the king of Christmas advertising. They set the bar for tear-jerking, heartstring-tugging campaigns and ever since there’s been increasing pressure to deliver bolder and better! We all have our favourites over the years from a trampolining dog to a lovelorn penguin.

5 of my most memorable John Lewis ads…
I challenge you not to get slightly teary!

2011 – “The Long Wait”
This was the one that officially kicked off John Lewis’s winning streak in the annual Christmas ad battle. Featuring a young boy getting increasingly impatient in the run-up to the big day. The twist at the end is unforgettable  – when we discover the reason for his pre-Christmas crankiness… A child giving us lessons in life.

2012 – “The Journey”
A very sweet advert, about “The Power of Love”. This is, not just about giving presents, it’s the lengths the snowman goes to in search of the perfect gift for his snowlady wife – which of course he finds at John Lewis.

2013 – “The Bear and the Hare”
Set to a cover of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know” by singer Lily Allen, the campaign featured an array of woodland animals in a classical Disney style and setting. It told the story of a bear hibernating before Christmas, before being persuaded to wake up by the hare to see Christmas in all its splendour. The bear’s little face when he sees the tree! We all know that feeling. And when you find out the present was an alarm clock! It’s almost too much.

2014 – “Monty the Penguin”
Monty just wanted to find love…  This could be considered one of John Lewis’s biggest Christmas successes. This heart-warming ad tells the tale of an unlikely friendship between a little boy Sam and his penguin friend Monty. The title of the campaign launch, “Give someone the Christmas they’ve been wishing for”. It’s easy to see why there was so much hype – only the coldest of hearts would shun a lonely penguin looking for love. Tom Odell’s cover version of the 1977 John Lennon song “Real Love” was the icing on the cake, or star on the tree in this instance!

2015 – “The Man on the Moon”
Featuring a cover of Oasis’ 1994 B-side “Half the World Away”, sung by Norwegian singer Aurora, the 2015 campaign tells the story of a young girl who makes contact with an old man living alone on the Moon. She sends him a telescope, via balloon, and the man finally gets to see Earth on Christmas night Just so sweet. “Show someone they’re loved this Christmas”, was the strapline with John Lewis teaming up with the charity Age UK… beautiful!

Ok so I couldn’t resist another…

2016 – “Buster the Boxer”
This one took a more light-hearted approach. The advert follows the story of a young girl, several wild animals and her peculiar pet Boxer dog named Buster. Expect the unexpected for this … love it! A portion of the soft toy animals sales earnings were donated to The Wildlife Trusts.

With a nip in the air and the kids settling back to school, we hate admitting that the most wonderful time of the year is fast approaching but that does mean the next John Lewis Christmas advert is only round the corner too!!

Lorna Ryan McKeon, Senior Brand Designer

Lorna brings a flair for intellectual instinctual design with her! A remarkable sense of colour and intuitive eye for balance and space make her a natural designer, and her exquisite concepts serve to bolster and enrich the brands she works with. Many of our clients at Neworld, including Adare Manor, Clontarf Castle and Castleknock Hotel, have benefited from her attention and genuine love of what she does.