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John Lewis Christmas advert 2020: the unexpected story behind this year’s ad

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Hollie Richardson
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John Lewis Christmas ad

Take a first look at the John Lewis Christmas advert 2020 and discover the real message behind the sweet story.

Christmas is just around the corner and it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Except, it’s not, because there’s a pandemic going on. But nothing can dampen one of the biggest annual events on the festive calendar: the John Lewis Christmas advert

Yes, as retailers start to release their Christmas adverts for 2020, the department store – known for its showreel of iconic emotional ads that have made the nation cry big fat tears over the years – has shared its offering for the year. 

And with so many emotions running high this year, the pressure is on to capture the mood of the nation. So, has the Give A Little Love advert lived up to expectations?

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The two-minute advert, which was released this morning (13 November), uses 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 accompanying recording is A Little Love, an original song by the Brit Award winner Celeste.

Let’s take a look…

As you can see, it’s all about giving a little love instead of presents this year: to strangers, to your lonely neighbour, to people who feel they don’t fit in and to the people you know and cherish. We are very much here for the man who spends all day laughing at the cracker joke. And the hedgehog who wants to be a hip-hop pigeon has captured our hearts. 

The retailer said it deliberately commissioned eight animation artists as a way to provide work for the struggling creative community, which has been crippled by coronavirus restrictions. And, because of job cuts that had to be made during the pandemic, the group also said it had spent less money on producing the ad this year.

Although it’s not the biggest tearjerker, it’s sweet and it gives hope. Perhaps, instead of making us all cry this year, John Lewis wants to put smiles on faces instead. But there’s also another very important message behind it.

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The advert is being used to promote a new Give a Little Love charity campaign. 

“Because together we can make a big difference. Help us give a little love to families in need,” reads the John Lewis tweet that shared the advert.

It aims to raise £5m over Christmas to help 100,000 families through food redistribution charity FareShare, Home-Start and other charities chosen locally by stores. 

And with so many families that will continue to struggle with feeding their families this Christmas, it’s an issue that we need to support more than ever.

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Images: John Lewis

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…