Life

Waitrose’s Christmas advert is a merciless mockery of John Lewis’ Sir Elton John film

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
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However, there’s more to the snarky festive ad than meets the eye…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when advertisers stop trying to peddle their wares and, instead, spread messages of hope, love, and good cheer throughout the land. Or something to that effect, anyway.

So far this year, we’ve been treated to a plethora of feel-good ads from the likes of John LewisSainsbury’s and Heathrow Airport. Waitrose, however, have decided to try a slightly different approach. Instead of schmaltz, they’ve opted for nothing but pure snark in their ad, which takes aim (and fires) at John Lewis’ Sir Elton John film.

Oh yes, they went there.

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Playing on the public’s obsession with the annual John Lewis ad drop, the Waitrose film begins as a teenager calls for her parents to join her in the living room of their home. Once everyone is assembled in front of the TV, she gestures at the screen, where Sir Elton John can be seen tapping out the first few bars of Your Song on the piano.

So far, so sweet. After a few seconds, though, the smiles on the parents’ faces become… well, they become somewhat fixed and glassy. Before too long, the mother has suggested fast-forwarding – a suggestion which the father is all too on board with, wresting the remote control from his shocked daughter’s hands and speeding through to the end of the ad in a matter of seconds.

Both parents then rush from the living room to the kitchen, where they embrace the true meaning of Christmas: eating as much delicious food as possible (in this case, the tasty morsel is a piece of Waitrose’s stollen cake).

Check it out:

The advert ends with the tagline: “Too good to wait”, with the father admitting that his favourite John Lewis Christmas advert is “the one with the penguin”.

And, naturally, it has sparked something of a debate on Twitter:

Of course, what many people have failed to remember is that Waitrose and John Lewis are a partnership company. Indeed, the Waitrose ad was actually made by adam&eveDDB, the creative agency behind The Boy and the Piano.

Reacting to the advert, Craig Inglis, customer director at John Lewis & Partners, says: “Frankly, it’s hard to believe our colleagues at Waitrose & Partners would choose a stollen over us.

“However, as a big fan of the chocolate orange combo, I suppose if anything can trump an ad starring Elton John, it’s their amazing stollen – some food IS just too good to wait for.”

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Of course, some cynics might point out that this clever Inception-style advert means that the John Lewis ad is getting twice as much screentime as any other ad. 

Most, though, are huge fans of Waitrose’s snarky response to their sister company’s star-studded flick.

Consider the stakes well and truly raised, Christmas ads yet to come.

Image: Waitrose & Partners

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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