In the UK, the Christmas John Lewis ad has become something of an annual tradition, as synonymous with the festive season as snowflakes, Santa and scarves.
The brand's creative agency Adam&Eve has been bringing a little Christmas sparkle to silver screen since 2009, but it was the retailer's 'The Long Wait' film that propelled John Lewis annual unveiling to become a landmark on the festive calendar.
Set to a cover of The Smiths' original 'Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want' the ad told the feel-good story of a little boy who couldn't wait for Christmas because he wanted to give a gift to his parents, rather than open his own presents. The spot set the precedent for plinky plonky piano covers and simple tales about the power of the season.
Since then we've had a lovesick Snowman cross borders to get a pair of gloves for his ice-cold Snowoman, an animated Lily Allen-scored ad about a bear who had a never experienced the joy of Christmas, and a tale about the magic of friendship featuring a penguin named Monty.
Last year, the brand stuck with its tried-and-tested formula and focused on 'The Man on the Moon' in a tear-jerking push which centered around the loneliness faced by the elderly at Christmas.
The department store's hotly-anticipated spot for 2016 is set to launch on Friday (4 November) and the predictions are already rolling in think and fast. There are rumours that Adele is on board and thoughts flying around on what longtime director Dougal Wilson will do differently this year.
So, rather than ask marketers for their prophecies, The Drum asked some of ad land's best and brightest minds to dream up their very own John Lewis Christmas ad. From ditching the melancholy Britpop covers to strapping a GoPro on Prince Harry, their tongue-in-cheek concepts are certainly interesting.
Mike Kettles, Executive Creative Director, Momentum Worldwide
"I’d like to see a campaign centered around imagining and anticipating how good Christmas is going to be. Specifically, I’d like to see a two minute ad of people simply imagining. No depiction of their fantasies, just people staring into the middle distance to the sound of jingle bells. We close with a call to action asking the viewer to imagine their own Christmas, thus allowing the John Lewis creative department to clock off early this year as a ‘thank you’ from us all for years of award winning hard work.
Any involvement of John Lennon on the soundtrack will be considered ‘too on the nose’. I’m sure we can look forward to ad breaks filled with breathy women exhaling songs from the late nineties to massive record sales for her and muttered derision from fans of the original.
This year I hope to see (or hear) the archetype flipped on its head and have Shed Seven, Dodgy or even Slade ruin Laura Marling’s Christmas. Nobody likes to talk about their charity work, but this angle is a great way to take the edge off seasonal capitalism. How about John Lewis hosting a slap up Christmas dinner for local homeless people in their flagship stores? We could use some of the saving that was made in the creative department to produce live-streams of those who really need some Christmas cheer having the best day of their lives – imagine that!"
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