John Lewis' 2020 Christmas advert almost didn’t happen until drastic U-turn

John Lewis has finally dropped its Christmas advert, a joyful ode to the everyday heroes who kept us going in a global pandemic – but for the first time in over a decade the most anticipated campaign of the year almost didn’t happen. 

This year’s advert, which launched today, celebrates kindness and rather than luring customers to the department store’s doors this Christmas, the high street giant is urging people to give a little love instead. 

However, with coronavirus causing unthinkable catastrophe, John Lewis came close to scrapping all plans for an advert at all until speaking to charities FareShare, which helps those facing food poverty, and Home-Start, which works with parents who need support.

The two organisations essentially drove the chain to march forward with this year’s moving commercial with just a few months to spare.

‘We took some time to decide at the beginning [of the pandemic] if we even wanted to do an advert and it was discussed at all levels, and then we only reached the idea in summer – a really quick turnaround,’ John Lewis’ Customer Director, Claire, told 

‘We didn’t want to just come up with an ad, we wanted to come up with a platform and be different. 

‘There’s so much work being put into this. We asked, “What’s the role of our partners? What’s the role of our customer? How do you get involved?”

‘And therefore an advert would be much easier to represent that and move on.’ 

Customer Experience Director for Waitrose, partner of John Lewis, Peter elaborated: ‘The advert is such a thing and has been such a thing for the past 10 years and we felt the biggest thing we could give to the charities was this campaign. 

‘We were so driven by this thought that it can’t be about us this year; it can’t be about shopping it has to be about Britain and the way Britain is feeling so this Christmas it’s about these people who get a little less. 

‘The inspiration is a direct line to what the British people have done during the pandemic.’

The John Lewis advert begins with a young boy whose ball is stuck up a tree until a girl, equipped with a heart-shaped umbrella, lends a helping hand before Britain is transformed into an animated dreamland following a stream of random acts of kindness. 

John Lewis’ 2020 offering breaks from tradition, with Brit Award winner Celeste singing an original track, Give A Little Love. 

The John Lewis Christmas Advert will make its televised debut on The Voice UK. 

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