The mega department store John Lewis has released its long-awaited Christmas advertising campaign, which for many marks the first sign of Christmas. With festive melodies, softly sung voices and sweet animation or film, the heart-felt campaigns feature a cover song sung by a well-known or emerging artist.
Last Thursday, the 9th of November, the British company, John Lewis Partnership (which covers Waitrose and John Lewis) released its latest ad ‘Snapper, The Perfect Tree’. The ad features a “cheeky carnivorous plant” and is accompanied by “Operatic Superstar” Andrea Bocelli. Bocelli sings the beautiful Italian song “Festa”, meaning ‘Party’ or ‘Celebration’.
In the video, a small boy picks up a ‘grow your own tree’ box at a small Christmas market. At home, the small sapling starts to grow, with the piano chords speeding up into a steady pace and a big drumbeat signalling a change and positivity. As the plant turns into a big Venus the family is not impressed, and the plant is replaced with a standard pine Christmas tree. At this point, the thick musical texture diminishes and there is just a solo piano, Bocelli’s voice and backing vocals. At the end of the video, all the family go outside to celebrate Christmas Day with Snapper, the plant.
The moral of the video is to “Let your traditions grow”, which is an important and kind message to share with the UK nation although it divided audiences, with one X (Twitter) user saying the advert was “a disappointment”.
Many others enjoyed the advert, with one saying “Thank you John Lewis for making my mum smile. It’s a tradition I show her your ad morning of release. My dad died a few months ago, we’re all so sad, especially Mum. It made us smile. Sending kindness + love”.
However, it seemingly got many adult males on the defence, hitting out at the fact there was no adult male presence, with some ranting “Where’s The Dad???!!” and “Being a dad, I’ll shop somewhere else this Christmas, thanks”. John Lewis replied succinctly “‘Showing a mum and a grandma, we always attempt to show a broad representation of British life across our advertising. This is a very realistic scenario for thousands of families in the UK.’
Catherine Shuttleworth, CEO of Savvy Marketing commented “John Lewis has opted instead for a vision of a modern family Christmas. Let’s see if it works”
The John Lewis marketing team have also gone one step further, releasing ‘Snapper’ merch. Get it here
The adverts started circulating and becoming a topic of conversation in 2010 as Ellie Goulding covered Elton John’s “Your Song”. Then came the rising popularity of the song “The Power of Love” after Gabrielle Aplin’s rendition in 2012. The Bear and the Hare animation in 2013 was accompanied by Lily Allen’s sweet version of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know” in 2013 and the Scandi singer Aurora covered “Half The World Away” – by Oasis back in 2015.
Other British supermarkets have taken different directions with their campaigns. Asda makes this Christmas “Incredibuble”, opting to use Canadian vocalist Michael Buble and Sainbury’s ‘Rickrolling’ people with a surprise appearance of Rick Astley in their ad.
Watch the ‘Snapper, The Perfect Tree’ John Lewis advert here