John Lewis has launched its Christmas advert, with this year’s campaign inspired by the kindness of the British public during the coronavirus pandemic.
The retailer says it considered shelving its traditional festive TV advert over concerns it may not be appropriate, but charity partners persuaded them to go ahead.
This year the video switches between live action and different styles of animation, with nine vignettes by eight different artists intended to celebrate the “creative industries that have been hit particularly hard this year”.
It is the first year a song has been specially commissioned, with UK soul singer Celeste writing and performing the A Little Love soundtrack in line with the campaign slogan.
John Lewis wanted to “deviate slightly” from the style of previous adverts in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, customer director Claire Pointon said.
The advert features people delivering food to an elderly couple and a man extending a Christmas cracker all the way to his lonely neighbour’s house so they can maintain social distancing.
John Lewis is aiming to raise £4m for the two charities it is supporting with the advert this year – FareShare – the food poverty charity footballer Marcus Rashford has worked with – and Home-Start, which works with parents who need support.
The retailer has pledged to match all customer donations up to £2m.
Customers will also be able to buy merchandise related to the campaign, which will see 100% of profits go to charity.
Pippa Wicks, John Lewis executive director, 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.”
The advert comes at the end of a difficult year for the John Lewis Partnership, which has cut around 2,800 jobs since the start of the pandemic, closed eight stores and slimmed down its head office roles.
In September, the group also told staff they would not receive a bonus for the first time since 1953 after reporting a £635m pre-tax loss for the six months to July, following a £470m write-down on its stores.