The Battle of the Christmas Adverts

John Lewis Christmas Advert

The annual release of the John Lewis Christmas advert isn’t a public holiday just yet, but it’s certainly becoming an integral part of Great British Christmas culture. The high-street retailer has stuck to their winning formula for the last seven years in a bid to win the Christmas advert arms race.

Their ad agency has fine-tuned their storyboard over the years to create a motion picture that usually features an animal, a small child, a lonely character rejoicing in the festive spirit as we’re serenaded by an acoustic Britpop cover.  Remember #ManOnTheMoon from 2015? The advert cost £1 million to shoot and a further £6 million was spent on in-store marketing and aired during the first advert break of Gogglebox on Channel 4.

More recently, brands have started spending millions of pounds with the aim of buying consumers’ emotional loyalty. Sainsbury’s annual offering doesn’t follow such a strict formula; instead they offer more controversial adverts, such as the 1914 Christmas Day truce which saw two army officers uniting on Christmas day. The four-minute epic cost the supermarket £20.5 million, but that’s the price you have to pay to invade John Lewis’ advert kingdom!

You can put your tissues away now…

Not every retailer strives to pull on their audience’s heart (and purse) strings. In 2013, Marks & Spencer’s ‘Magic & Sparkle’ gave nods to Wizard of Oz and Alice and Wonderland with the likes of Helen Bonham-Carter, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and David Gandy. The creative was supported by a social media campaign that asked viewers to name the Highland Terrier that leads Rosie down the alleyway, choosing between Magic or Sparkle.

It’s less than three weeks until we’re expecting to see the annual John Lewis Christmas Advert air on our TV screens in a bid to hold their title as the king of Christmas adverts. So, keep your kleenex close, or better still, use this John Lewis Silk Handkerchief to mop up your tears – with a John Lewis voucher to cut the cost, naturally…

Alternatively, you could guess what music the real Christmas advert will feature with our John Lewis Christmas Advert predictor – anybody for Shura?

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