John Lewis has launched its highly-anticipated Christmas campaign, which celebrates the joy of old and new festive traditions. The campaign has been created in partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi London, which won the account back in May after 14 years with adam&eveDDB London.
The campaign captures a new spirit of Christmas and is inspired by the enduring and changing ways the nation now celebrates. The campaign shows how the unusual and unexpected, over the conventionally ‘perfect’, can lead to a joyful time together for everyone.
At the heart of the campaign is an energetic and mischievous Venus flytrap, a wannabe Christmas tree named Snapper, who brings an unexpected twist and joy to Christmas celebrations.
While John Lewis customers love classic Christmas traditions, such as decorating the tree and sharing gifts, its research has discovered many families also have new ones – from all-day Christmas pyjamas to meeting up outside, a tradition that grew during lockdown.
‘Snapper, the perfect tree’ – with the strapline ‘Let Your Traditions Grow’ – focuses on a young boy who lovingly nurtures a plant from seed, in the belief he is cultivating a perfect Christmas tree.
The fast growing plant becomes a life force of its own with a playful personality who wants to join in all the fun of Christmas.
After a tear jerking moment, where Snapper grows too big for the living room and is cast out into the cold, he is embraced back into family life giving out presents with such exuberance that the family find a new joy in gathering around their unconventional ‘Christmas tree.’
Says Charlotte Lock, customer director for John Lewis: “We are a nation that loves the traditions of Christmas – from classic traditions like pantos and putting up the tree to evolving new ones like crafting our own presents and Zoom get-togethers. Many of us have our own unique festive traditions and that makes them even more special.
“The film celebrates themes of family and evolving traditions and shows that a ‘perfect’ Christmas is finding joy together with loved ones, whatever your traditions.”
The music is provided by the legendary Tenor Andrea Bocelli who performs a song called ‘Festa’, which means ‘celebration’, and is written and produced by Le Feste Antonacci specifically for the John Lewis advert. The rousing track is a brand-new recording, with lyrics written especially for and approved by Maestro Bocelli, to carry the joy and emotional power of our story, putting a twist on traditional music at Christmas. It is wildly different to AI generated predictions, which forecast that a cover of a classic ballad would feature on the soundtrack.
Says Bocelli: “I am delighted to take part in this wonderful and unique tradition of Christmas storytelling. It is very special for me given the great support this will bring to both the John Lewis and Andrea Bocelli foundations. Joy to all of your worlds this Christmas!”
The soundtrack will be released in longer form as a charity single with a proportion of the proceeds from the sale of the single going to the John Lewis Partnership’s Building Happier Futures charities, which help care experienced young people and families in need.
Says Sarah Jenkins, managing director, Saatchi & Saatchi: “It’s an extraordinary privilege to be working with the John Lewis Partnership, and it’s particularly magical to be launching a campaign that celebrates all of the traditions – both eternal and evolving – that make Christmas so special to the nation. The race to be the number one Christmas ad brings extra festive spice and is such a brilliant embodiment of the skills and smarts of the UK’s incredible creative industries. We’re raising a glass to all.”
This year’s ad has the widest ever range of associated merchandise. The Snapper collection will be available in all John Lewis shops, johnlewis.com and selected Waitrose shops. Products include; Plush Plant £18, Mini Plush Bauble £10, Printed Bauble £6, Tote Bag £6, Chocolate £6.50, Boxed Biscuit £4.50, Kids pyjamas £19, Adult Pyjamas from £34, Snapper slippers £18, Real venus flytrap plant £10, Christmas Card with Seeds £3, Pomeranian plush £30. There is also a children’s story book priced at £9.99 telling the story of Snapper.
This year’s ad, which airs for the first time in Friday’s Gogglebox on Channel 4, is part of a bigger campaign which is the most interactive and shoppable ever.
In a first for John Lewis and Kew Gardens, Snapper will be part of the iconic Christmas at Kew light trail. The event has become a new tradition for many families since it launched and this is the first time there has been a brand partner integrated with the installations.
The adventures of Snapper will also continue in 7x 10” episodic product films showcasing some of our must-have gifts from Nespresso Coffee Machines to the latest fragrance from Jo Malone, released between launch and Christmas and in December there will also be a special AR filter where Meta users can bring Snapper into their own homes. A digital advent calendar on the John Lewis app will see Snapper reward myJL members with exclusive rewards throughout December and a host of OOH, press and John Lewis window displays will see the character showcase inspiring John Lewis Christmas ranges.
The campaign will come to life across channels, with media planned and bought by Manning Gottlieb OMD. From AV and Cinema to social and YouTube as well as activations for audiences to engage with and play with Snapper. All underpinned with brilliant opportunities to inspire and buy great John Lewis products. The campaign will include shoppable formats through YouTube, C4 and Google with all products featured in the ad for sale through John Lewis website, app and shops.
Client: John Lewis
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi London
CCO: Franki Goodwin
ECD: Paddy Fraser
Senior Creatives: Alex Kosterman, Avani Maan
Character Design: Kris Miklos
Production Company: Riff Raff
Music: Le Feste Antonucci, Andrea Bocelli
Editing: Final Cut
Post-Production: Electric Theatre Collective
VFX Supervisor: Alex Gabucci