John Lewis launch Christmas ad but Waitrose takes the mickey

Nov 9, 2012

John Lewis kicks off festive season with slick snowmen as Waitrose donates its ad budget to charity

RETAILER John Lewis has kicked off the festive season by launching its eagerly awaited Christmas advertisement – but its sister operation Waitrose has taken aim at the whole concept of expensive, slickly produced seasonal promos with its own pared-down ad. 

This year's John Lewis commercial (see video below) is called The Journey, and features as its soundtrack a cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 1984 hit The Power of Love by up-and-coming indie-folk singer Gabrielle Aplin.

The 90-second spot sees a girl's snowman embark on an epic quest over land and water to buy a present for his snow-wife. He returns triumphantly from John Lewis with a pair of gloves before the tagline 'Give a little more love this Christmas' appears.

Reaction to the advertisement has been largely positive with followers of the John Lewis YouTube account describing it as "wonderful", "simply magnificent", "beautiful" and "very cute".

Michael Hogan, writing in the Daily Telegraph, calls it "slushy and shamelessly sentimental", and says it's "heart-warming stuff and handsomely shot on location in New Zealand, which gives it epic, Lord Of The Rings-esque scale."

The advert is likely to prove less love-it-or-hate-it than 2011's effort, The Long Wait, which featured a young lad waiting impatiently for Christmas - the punchline being that he is not waiting for his own presents, but the look on his parents’ faces when he hands them a clumsily wrapped gift.

Social media channels generally swooned about that advertisement, but writing in The Guardian Charlie Brooker described it as "creepy bullshit" and said that anyone who cried about it was "literally sobbing IQ points out of their body".

Meanwhile, John Lewis’s sister operation, the supermarket Waitrose, has cheekily thumbed its nose at the whole trend of mawkish and overblown Christmas ads - so far Ikea and Asda have released their 2012 contributions - with its own festive spot.

Featuring celebrity chefs Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal, the Waitrose advert features the pair - who waived their fees for the commercial - telling viewers that instead of a "fancy TV advert" Waitrose will be giving more money to local good causes.

Marketing magazine reports that the supermarket will donate an additional £1 million through its Community Matters scheme on top of the £600,000 it usually gives during November and December as a result of its pared down ad.

Sign up for our daily newsletter