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  1. ITV Report

'Pure, raw emotion': Heartbreaking festive video made for £50 goes viral

A still from the festive short film that has become a viral sensation. Credit: Phil Beastall

People on social media are calling for John Lewis to hire an independent filmmaker for their next Christmas ad - after a video that cost £50 to make received more than six million views on Facebook.

The film, made by Phil Beastall in 2014, has become an overnight viral sensation online, with thousands of people sharing it and comparing it to the big budget John Lewis ad starring Sir Elton John.

Titled 'Love is a Gift', the video features a man ticking off the days until Christmas as he waits to open a present. Then, when Christmas day arrives, there is a heartbreaking twist.

Fans of the emotional festive film were quick to point out the difference in cost and production between this year's John Lewis ad featuring Sir Elton and the indie short made by Phil Beastall.

£7m
The reported cost of the John Lewis advert
£50
The reported cost of Phil Beastall's advert

One user on Twitter said: "Now THAT is a Christmas advert."

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The video ends with the man sitting at the kitchen table on Christmas Day, putting in a tape to a tape player - which turns out to be a final message from his mum who has passed away.

"Thank you for taking the time to remember me. After all these years. I can't believe you're going to be 30 soon," she says.

Having prepared tapes for her son for each Christmas since she died, she reveals this will be the last one.

"So this is it. My last tape. I wish I could keep talking to you every Christmas, but it's time to say goodbye.

"Just remember how much I love you.

"I will always be your mum," she adds.

Mr Beastall told ITV News: "For me it's a reminder that story is key. You can have all the bells and whistles in the world but if your story is weak it won't connect with people."

It was first released in 2014, and the response was small, and locally based.

The corporate video producer said he was "just absolutely desperate to make something for Christmas", and the idea came to him while he was out for a jog.

"I wanted to make something that would resonate with people and create something that people would want to share and make them feel good at the end of it," he said.

The video stars actor Chris Ilston and features the voice of Natalie Martins.