John Lewis Christmas ad was nearly scrapped for first time in 2020
After what has been a difficult year for many people, John Lewis bosses said they had considered scrapping their costly winter marketing campaign altogether
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The John Lewis Christmas advert has become hotly anticipated festive staple in recent years, with many Brits not feeling they can get in the Christmas spirit until its unveiling.
But this year’s telly offering was almost scrapped by the department store, as the world reeled in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a narrowly avoided twist, after what has been a difficult year for many people, John Lewis bosses revealed they had considered scrapping their costly winter marketing campaign altogether.
Instead, store bosses decided to use their ad to celebrate the good and raise money for some much-needed causes.
James Bailey, executive director of Waitrose, revealed how the 2020 campaign was almost scrapped.
He said: “We did consider whether it was right to produce an ad this year at all.
“However, FareShare and HomeStart 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 heart-warming campaign, entitled ‘Give A Little Love’, is said to have been inspired by the British public’s response to the coronavirus pandemic this year.
The two new joint ads, from Waitrose and John Lewis, are aiming to raise £4million for charities Home Start and Fare Share.
While a further £11million is to be donated by branches of the stores to help local charities supporting families in need this Christmas.
James Bailey continued: “The pandemic has highlighted the growing inequalities across the country, with those who are already most vulnerable disproportionately impacted.
“Through our partnerships with FareShare and HomeStart we’re aiming to make a big difference to the lives of 100,000 families in the UK.
“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.”
As well as raising cash for charity, this year’s campaign was put together very differently from any the department store chain has done previously.
The ad was put together in just four weeks using creatives who had been forced out of work during lockdown.
Instead of a single production team, multiple artists were selected, giving employment to many people across the creative industry.
The unique approach to creating this year’s ad was chosen in a spirit of kindness towards the creative industry, which has been hard hit by the pandemic.
The two minute advert is a celebration of different forms of moving art – from animation and claymation to CGI and cinematography.
It is made up of nine different vignettes created by eight different artists who are leading experts in their particular art, including Chris Hopewell, who has created music videos for Radiohead and Franz Ferdinand, and French animator Sylvain Chomet.
The scenes are connected to create a long chain of giving, as each film passes the campaign’s heart emblem on to the next part of the film.
The storyline illustrates how acts of kindness, large and small, can multiply and positively impact the world in which we live as we pass them on to others.
The different ‘moments’ of kindness captured in the film are designed to appeal to different audiences, from children upwards.
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.