John Lewis Christmas advert ‘celebrates kindness’ during UK pandemic

John Lewis hopes the Christmas campaign will help raise £4 million for charity. Credit: John Lewis and Partners

The John Lewis Christmas advert will be a bit different this year after the company revealed it questioned whether it would be appropriate to produce a festive ad in a year beset by coronavirus.

The retail giant said this year's ad will highlight the kindness of the British public during the pandemic with its strap-line 'Give a Little Love'.

The department store chain said it had considered shelving the production of its highly-anticipated annual marketing campaign but said charity partners persuaded it to go ahead.

And it hopes to raise £4 million for two charities FareShare, which helps those facing food poverty and Home-Start, which works with parents who need support.

It has pledged to match all customer donations up to £2 million.

James Bailey, executive director of Waitrose, the supermarket arm of the company, said: "Each year festive adverts come and go – and some are remembered more vividly than others.

"But our advertising this year will leave a lasting legacy – and in that way we hope it won’t just be for Christmas.

John Lewis said the advert also 'celebrates' creatives who had been 'hit hard' by the pandemic. Credit: John Lewis Partnership

"We did consider whether it was right to produce an ad this year at all.

"However, FareShare and Home-Start told us how much of a difference this campaign could make, both on a financial level and in raising awareness of the incredibly important work they do with families across the UK."

The company also said the the nine different vignettes created by eight different artists celebrated the “creative industries which have been hit particularly hard this year”.

It comes after a testing year for the John Lewis Partnership, which has cut around 2,800 jobs since the start of the pandemic as it closed eight stores and reduced its head office workforce.

In September, the group also told staff they would not receive a bonus for the first time since 1953 after it dived to a £635 million pre-tax loss for the six months to July, following a £470 million write-down on its stores.

John Lewis and Waitrose say the ad is designed to spark acts of kindness. Credit: John Lewis Partnership

Due to be launched on social media at 7am on Friday, the ad starts with a boy whose football has become stuck in a tree and moves through a series of acts of kindness, switching from live action to various styles of animation.

Advertising agency adam&eveDDB that designed the two-minute advert also helped to produce a complimentary ad which carries a call to support the two charities.

British soul singer Celeste wrote and recorded the original track for the ad entitled 'A Little Love' and 10p from each download will go to the charity campaign.

Executive director for John Lewis Pippa Wicks said the company has set an ambition to be a business to be a 'force for good'. Credit: John Lewis Partnership

Customers of John Lewis will be able to buy merchandise related to the campaign, which will see 100% of profits go to charity.

John Lewis executive director Pippa Wicks said: “We recently set out our ambition for our business to be a force for good – so we decided that this year was the year to break the mould and do something different.

“We have a long tradition of helping support the communities which we serve, so, as we launch one of the best-loved assets, our Christmas ad, it’s fitting to take this one step further by working hand in hand with two incredible charities supporting families in need.”