Normally, by this time in November, we’d have eaten at least one Christmas sandwich (oh Pret, how we miss you) and slipped into something sequin covered to sip a mulled wine. Thanks to COVID, the “most wonderful time of the year” isn’t feeling quite so wonderful just yet, not least because we have no idea what Christmas is going to look like. In a bid to make the bleak mid-winter a little less bleak, John Lewis has just dropped its Christmas advert and it’s exactly what the world needs right now.
Fittingly airing on National Kindness Day, the theme of this year’s advert is Give a Little Love, inspired by the kindness shown by the British public during the pandemic, and it’s the first joint philanthropic ad for the high street giant and it’s sister company Waitrose. The brands have chosen two charities, FareShare, which helps those facing food poverty – footballer and free school meals saviour Marcus Rashford is as ambassador – and Home-Start, which supports parents in need, with the mission of raising a whopping £4m for both. See, all the feels.
Instead of focusing on a central character like Monty the Penguin or Excitable Edgar, the film opens with a young boy and girl in a picture-postcard snowy village. When his ball gets stuck in a tree, the girl opens her umbrella – which turns into a giant red heart – and nudges the football free. Turning animated, the heart is then passed through a series of scenes and characters as people spread the love with acts of kindness. We’re talking a snowman offering up his tummy as a heart-shaped spare wheel to a couple with a flat tyre and a family dropping bountiful bags of Waitrose food outside someone’s front door as the bag turns into a heart. No, you’re crying.
While previous John Lewis ads have been soundtracked by famous names performing well-known covers, the song used in the 2020 advert is an original by hotly-tipped Brit Award winner Celeste, who’s haunting vocals and poignant lyrics are guaranteed to tip you over the edge emotionally. Naturally, John Lewis has come up trumps with the advert merch, from a heart-shaped umbrella to pyjamas, tote bags and t-shirts. Heart-warmingly, 100% of the profits will be split between Home-Start and FairShare, and John Lewis are also encouraging customers to donate in other ways, like giving money to one of the two charities every time you swipe your John Lewis or Waitrose cards, while stores will be promoting volunteer projects to inspire customers to ‘give a little love’ this festive season.
It’s beginning to feel a lot more like Christmas, thanks John Lewis.