John Lewis & Partners is a brand of high-end department stores operating throughout Great Britain. Each holiday season since 2007, folks in the UK have eagerly anticipated the store’s Christmas “advert” for the year. For many, it signals the start of the holiday shopping season and the build-up to Christmas.
London-based agency Adam & Eve/DDB has conceived the commercials since 2009. A theme is developed and a creative team gets to work developing a swoon-worthy “advert” that usually receives widespread media attention and acclaim upon its release. Each commercial features a song that is usually a cover (excluding 2018 and 2020) of existing songs by different artists. They have often reached high positions on the UK music charts, and the original versions often receive a sales boost. (Fun fact: In 2018, Sir Elton John became the first artist to perform and star in the advert.)
This year’s advert is no exception. Titled “Give a Little Love,” it tells the story of how a kind gesture slowly spreads from person to person throughout the video. “A little love” refers to the small things each person does to brighten the next person’s day.
‘We wanted to inspire a generation with the thought that if we all simply give a little more love, the world will be a better place,’ says Claire Pointon, Director of Customer, John Lewis. ‘Every year it’s important for us to ensure we are mindful of the world in which we are living when it comes to our advertising.’
Twelve incredibly creative individuals were called upon to bring the idea to life. The talented illustrators, animators, and makers ranged from high-profile directors and puppeteers to university graduates. Everything was painstakingly made by hand. Then British director Oscar Hudson had the job of blending the illustration and animation styles and bringing everything together in a series of stop-motion vignettes.
And of course, this was all done against the backdrop of COVID-19. The shoot happened later than usual this year between two lockdowns in England. The health of the small cast and crew was critical and so shooting in a Covid-secure extremely important. As a result, lots of face masks, temperature checks, Covid tests, and hand sanitizer were involved.
Without further ado (except to say have a tissue handy), get ready for your heart and your holiday season to be filled with “a little love.”
Soundtrack: British singer-songwriter Celeste
Director: Oscar Hudson
Illustrators, Animators, Makers: Chris Hopewell, Sylvain Chomet, Anete Melece, MegaComputeur, Andy Gent & Anthony Farquhar-Smith, Anna Mantzaris, and Kingston University graduates: Bella McEvoy, Leksey Lee, Amelia Fowler, Marta Pinto
A clip of the behind-the-scenes making of the “advert:”
By Hannah F
Senior Art Director