Flop or not? John Lewis’s new approach for Christmas ad 2020

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Flop or not? John Lewis’s new approach for Christmas ad 2020

Every year there is a competition amongst retailers for the best Christmas advert, and this year John Lewis opted for mellow and magical.

Rating: 3.5/5

Unlike many of their competitors, John Lewis steered away from over-commercialising their television advertising this year. After a tough year, some retailers decided to go full throttle on the advertising front. The Marks and Spencer advert put the spotlight on their new Christmas menu with an enthusiastic narrator. The Morrison’s advert flaunted their best items, accompanied by Dua Lipa’s upbeat new track.

However, John Lewis certainly did not board the “all things bright and buoyant” bandwagon.

The release of the annual John Lewis Christmas advert has become a national event. The UK TV audience counts down the days until their screens are blessed with a heart-warming and festive story. This is usually accompanied by undeniably catchy songs. From Elton John to Gabrielle Aplin to Bastille, we have received a fair share of hearty ballads. Yet this year, low-key seems to be the way to go.

For Christmas 2020, a compilation of animated scenes was paired with an understated and elegant melody. An original song is a risky move for John Lewis. However, Celeste’s ‘A Little Love’ encompassed warmth and a hint of optimism. This is exactly the song we needed after the year we have all experienced. Together, the song and advert delivered a meaningful message. It captured the importance of sharing kindness whenever the opportunity arises.

The voice behind the advert

British singer and songwriter Celeste is the BBC Music’s Sound of 2020. With this new release, it is easy to see why. The uplifting lyrics complemented a series of characters displaying acts of kindness. The combination captured what we should learn from such a tiresome year. Not everything is perfect, but we can all do a little more to make things better.

John Lewis has not attempted to propose anything upbeat, exciting or fun. Times are still bleak, and the retailer has understood that perfectly.

The lyrics

The jazzy tones of Celeste’s voice delivered honest lyrics. One of them including “nothing better in this world to get than happiness”. The song itself left you tearing up on the sofa searching for the tissues. The advert simultaneously warmed up your heart by reminding you that kindness is the ticket to happiness.

Admittedly, most of the lyrics were a tad fanciful. For example, “I think we’d find ourselves here dancing in the street”. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen. Yet in other ways, John Lewis has succeeded in creating an advert that draws on elements of relatability. By featuring key workers, families and people living on their own, there is an aspect of truth for many.


Celeste certainly pulled on our heartstrings. It is likely that thousands of people will add this sweet song to their playlists.

Is this just a marketing stunt to ensure the advert is remembered and the song stands the test of time? Probably. But they have pulled it off well.

It has been a financially difficult year for most businesses. John Lewis could have followed the crowd and crammed its advert with merchandise. However, they created something so simple yet wishful. It fits in perfectly with the mood of a sombre society clutching on to feelings of hope.