Friday, November 15, 2019

John Lewis and Waitrose Christmas ad 2019

One of the Christmas ads I wait for every year is the ad for UK retailer John Lewis, which I’ve been posting every year since 2013 (complete list below). John Lewis is a 155-year-old chain of high-end departments stores in the UK, run by John Lewis & Partners, which is an employee-owned company. John Lewis & Partners, in turn, is owned by John Lewis Partnership, a trust run for the benefit of employees.

Another division of of the Partnership is Waitrose & Partners, which runs the Waitrose supermarket chain in the UK. Some years I’ve also shared the Waitrose Christmas ad.

Things are a little different this year, and the video above is the Christmas 2019 ad for both John Lewis & Partners and also Waitrose & Partners. The ad has much in common with the John Lewis ads of previous years—sweet, heart-warming, all that sort of stuff. The combined ad, however, is probably a money-saving effort because the retail chain announced its first-ever half-year loss in September.

As an article in The Guardian put it:
Retailers are facing a tough Christmas as shoppers rein in spending amid economic and political uncertainty.

Sarah Vizard, a news editor at Marketing Week, said: “Most of the money when doing a big campaign goes into [buying space] and they have now got the same agency across two brands so there will definitely be efficiencies of scale. Having one big creative campaign is also going to have helped cost levels.”
That may also explain the return to form of sorts for the ad. At least, that’s what observers in the UK are saying.

I like the ad—what’s not to like, really? It’s sweet and all that, and filled with all the feels we’d expect from a John Lewis ad—even with Waitrose tacked on. It doesn’t sell products as much as feelings, and I think that makes it a nice change from the hard-sell ads that are so common this time of year.

This ad also uses a pop song as its backing track, as they’ve done several other years. This year it’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling” which was a hitin 1984 for US band REO Speedwagon. The version used in the ad is sung by Dan Smith, who is the lead singer for UK rock band Bastille. The video of the original song is at the bottom of this post.

I doubt very much that I’ll post anywhere near as many Christmas ads this year as I have in the past, but for a bit of an unusual reason: I looked at previous years’ ads and found that some companies (too many) had deleted their videos (an action I loathe because it makes it so much harder to research things like advertising over time). So, rather than have a lot of those grey nothing-to-see-hear-move-along boxes from YouTube, I decided to be far more selective in the ads I share.

Of course, skipping lots of ads pretty much means it’ll be utterly impossible for me to hit my annual target for the total number of blog posts, but due to the circumstances in which I now find myself, that was never likely, anyway. Better to concentrate my admittedly limited attention span on posts that are less likely to end up with grey nothing-to-see-hear-move-along boxes.

There’s always next year, I suppose—hope?

Previous John Lewis ads I’ve shared:
“First UK 2018 Christmas ads") – 2018
Moz (my post: “First UK Christmas ads") – 2017
Buster The Boxer (my post: “Buster the Boxer’s ad") – 2016
Man on the Moon (my post: “Something nice") – 2015
Monty the Penguin (my post: “Another nice ad”) – 2014
The Bear and The Hare (my post: “Because it’s nice”) – 2013

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