John Lewis has launched its much-anticipated Christmas ad, and has taken a different creative direction to reflect a year like no other.
Over the past decade the retailer’s festive ad has become a big annual TV and social media moment that kicks off the UK Christmas shopping season.
The two minute advert features different forms of moving art – from animation and claymation to CGI and cinematography.
The Give A Little Love ad, which is a joint effort with Watirose, was inspired by random acts of kindness during lockdown after the pandemic first hit in March.
The commercial features different acts of kindness through nine different live action and animation scenes.
It starts with a little girl wearing specs and a yellow raincoat helping a boy get his football down from the tree, using a heart umbrella.
The little boy then aids a snowman fly away who then helps a family get their car going.
The final moment is a kind-hearted nurse on a bus who gives a heart-shaped sticker on her apple and gives it to a little girl to mend her specs.
In total there are nine acts of kindness involving a heart in one way or another, helping to form a chain reaction of joy and happiness.
The Give A Little Love ad is different to any other campaign that John Lewis has done and this is because the retailer recognises that this year is like no other.
Eight artists helped create the different scenes, including Chris Hopewell, who has created music videos for Radiohead and Franz Ferdinand, and French animator Sylvian Chomet.
The two-minute ad, which will be aired online from Friday morning and then debut on TV during ITV’s The Voice on Saturday, is being used to promote a Give a Little Love charity campaign.
It aims to raise £5m over Christmas to help 100,000 families through food redistribution charity FareShare and Home-Start and other charities chosen locally by stores.
The retail group said it had deliberately commissioned eight animation artists as a way to provide work for the struggling creative community, which has been crippled by coronavirus restrictions.
They use a mix of live action, filmed with a small team under social distancing measures, and nine animations in a range of styles from claymation and felt to CGI. The advert is backed by A Little Love, an original song by the Brit Award winner Celeste.
A separate 30-second animated ad – promoting a text-to-donate service – was created by students from Kingston University who pitched as part of a nationwide student callout. It will run in the same ad breaks.
Funds will also be raised by John Lewis and its Waitrose supermarket chain match-funding up to £2m of customer donations and profits from the sale of special merchandise, including a heart-shaped umbrella. The group will also donate 1p every time a loyalty scheme member swipes their card.