Last week, I voiced my opinions on the new John Lewis Christmas ad, and how it was (to me) a bit of a disappointment.
Displaying a total lack of pre-campaign sell in (which is their signature move), and focusing more on their iconic casting rather than the actual content of the advertisement – I certainly won’t be placing them on any sort of pedestal this year, as I would have in previous years. (Still mourning Moz, yep).
I’ll likely rank my top Christmas ads of the year once they’ve all been released, and (spoiler alert!), I wouldn’t be surprised if this year John Lewis doesn’t even make the cut this year, unfortunately.
So, much to my dismay, all hope was lost in John Lewis this year. Until yesterday that is…
Meet John Lewis, (but not as you know them)
Like an adverse of the Grinch, it’s not John Lewis who saved Christmas, it’s John Lewis! And for those of you who don’t know who this guy is, and moreover haven’t caught glimpse of the iconic Xmas ad starring him yet, you probably think I’ve gone mad. But hear me out.
John Lewis is a guy who lives over in the states, and whose Twitter handle is rightfully his name – @johnlewis. Though of course, you can see wherein the issue lies. John gets inundated with tweets all year round; but largely at Christmas from those who haven’t taken the time to suss out that the John Lewis store’s handle is actually @jlandpartners.
Kudos to John, as he’s turned something that to the most of us would be incredulously annoying into a longstanding practical joke. He’s become something of a national icon in the UK as people await his renowned quote tweet replies to Twitter users who’ve @’ted him instead of the John Lewis store.
I think, well I know, that if it was me I’d have changed my handle a looong time ago now, so fair play to John – who keeps us entertained year in and out. All in the spirit of Christmas. I’d be entirely gutted if he ever did change his @ now actually, as it’s become a running tradition that @JohnLewis should have a part to play in John Lewis’ Christmas campaign. Don’t say that the UK doesn’t have culture, guys.
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He’s even earned his fair share of praise from John Lewis & Partners themselves over the years, who duly send him gifts and publicly apologise to compensate for his hectic notifications this time of year.
Anyway, because John Lewis is a bit of a social media celebrity this time of year, I have to say that the latest stunt involving him is truly magnificent.
Going one step further than a few funny tweets this year, the man himself has actually been directed into his very own Xmas ad in conjunction with Twitter UK. And if you haven’t yet, you NEED to see it…
#NotARetailStore for Christmas #1?
I can’t stop throwing that around at the minute, but honestly, Christmas campaigns are my favourite kind and I can’t wait to weigh them all up at the end of the year. And will John Lewis’ #NotARetailStore make an appearance in my list? You can bloody bet.
The brainchild of Joe-Macay Sinclair, who heads up The Romans (well-deserved winner of PR consumer agency of the year this year), his impressive team, and Agile Films – this creative campaign is truly one for the books. Since its release to the social media world yesterday, the ad has already generated tens of thousands of engagements – and all of Twitter is talking about it. Including John Lewis & Partners themselves – who’ve embraced the lighthearted play on their brand in this campaign. This is how piggybacking off brands should be done, take note, Lidl & Pizza Hut.
If I had to sum up the advertisement in one tweet, I’ve found an absolute winner below. which ironically depicts just how popular this campaign has been so far.
But there’s also something else to be learned from this tweet. And it’s that human John Lewis may have just trumped store John Lewis with this ingenious collaboration. The ad has generated all the right kinds of attention. And to me (that crucially important opinion, like) it delivered everything that John Lewis and Partners failed to this year. It was original, relatable, and above all perfectly marketed – with THE John Lewis himself releasing it to the world on social media.
And it’s these kinds of projects that really do work. They’re daring and different – but that’s what makes them brilliant. Do the unpredictable and venture into the unknown. Tie that in with a little creative virtuosity and a team who can make it work – and you’ve got yourself a winning PR campaign 💪.
Well done to The Romans, Agile Films, the members of the team who worked on the ad (I don’t know you all – unfortunately), Twitter UK, and most importantly John Lewis. You’ve produced truly stunning simple campaign that’s entirely worthy of every single RT it earns and so much more.
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