James: While I do think the nostalgia angle is a bit different for John Lewis, I doubt this one will stand out in the years to come. However, I do really like the strapline they’ve gone for this year, ‘Sometimes a gift is more than just a gift’. It captures that care and attention to detail that goes into finding something special for a loved one, and I think that’s a feeling that will resonate with a lot of people.
Nevertheless, for all John Lewis’ efforts, Sainsbury’s plug kid remains unbothered by this campaign. Next!
Peter: At first, I didn’t know what this was all about but as it progressed I got butterflies, as I have always loved the song. Having learned the piano myself, I thought it was a brilliant way of showing how a thoughtful gift can be so much more than just a gift. I love it!
Jane: I think the advert is a triumph in the way it captures the halcyon memories of Christmases from our childhood. It’s clever how the video is retrospective to compound this emotion, but I wonder how the nostalgia and focus on a pop ‘legend’ will resonate with a younger audience. That said, my 17-year-old enjoyed playing ‘guess the real Elton’ as we were watching!
As always, the merchandising they will link to the campaign is interesting and I hear some stores will be selling upright pianos – so they’re not going for volume sales of cuddly Moz monsters this year then?!
Natalie: I like it! It’s sentimental with a new angle, and cleverly done. I like the fact it plays on someone’s past memories and shows how passions can be ignited by giving a gift at Christmas. I think it’s interesting that it ‘premiered’ on social first this year – I understand why, but I still personally prefer the buzz of it being aired live on TV.
It’s great PR with Elton’s fee going back to his foundation that supports musical/arts opportunities for children too – I like that. While I wouldn’t say it’s John Lewis’ strongest, I do like it and yup, it made me shed a tear near the end (not difficult – I’m a sucker for anything remotely sentimental!)
Grace: Probably not one of my favourite John Lewis adverts. I don’t feel that Elton John is the most endearing personality, while previous campaigns have worked so well because they tapped into genuine and everyday human emotions.
But what I do love is that John Lewis has made itself synonymous with Christmas and every year it lays down the gauntlet for the best alternative ad, wittiest response or creative commentary about its advert. At the end of the day, whether you like the ad or not, it does its job because everyone is talking about it. So far this year, Netflix’s response really made me laugh!
the John Lewis ad but instead of Elton John it’s this keyboard wizard pic.twitter.com/u25MPqv0gl
— Netflix UK & Ireland (@NetflixUK) 15 November 2018
Roz: Festive and heart-warming, it ticks all the boxes for me. The message is simple and the fact there will be scenes from the ad in store makes me want to head down to John Lewis straight away!
Abbi: This year’s effort resonated with me more personally than previous years – the combination of family and nostalgia to the backdrop of Your Song makes for a captivating watch. As a big Elton John fan I really enjoyed the ad, and baby Elton definitely gave me all the feels!
They’ve done a great job with the casting, and Elton throughout the years sporting his most famous looks is spot on.
Sam M: Beautifully shot, I really enjoyed the message that a gift at Christmas could potentially result in such an illustrious career that has influenced so many people around the world.
I believe it hits a wide range of audiences. It appeals to parents thinking about what gifts they would like to give to their children that could help shape their futures. It also has the potential to bring back memories of gifts from previous years that have influenced your life, such as someone who has a passionate for photography receiving their first camera, or a golfer being gifted their first set of clubs.
I wouldn’t change any aspect of the advert. I especially like the ending, where the notes played by Elton as a boy and then in the present day appear to show his appreciation for the gift that started his musical journey. The message felt, if you put care into your presents, they can have a hugely positive impact on someone’s life.
Hannah H: It’s not my favourite advert John Lewis has done. My favourite was 2015’s Man on the Moon campaign because I liked the charity partnership and the fact it wasn’t just a sales advertisement. They’ve kept the classic emotive theme going in this one, so it’s heart-warming and feel good, and I really like the closing statement, ‘Sometimes a gift is more than just a gift’. But, I think Aldi have outdone them this year, and my favourite Christmas ad of all time still remains the 2014 Sainsbury’s one, which was in partnership with the Royal British Legion.
I think the launch of John Lewis’ ad on social was the perfect way to create a buzz with their primary audience. However, I think Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot campaign is going to create more noise, as they are rolling out a series of different videos and pieces of content between the start of November and Christmas Day across social media to keep things fresh. Aldi’s will do well because a lot of people will follow the campaign to see what happens, whereas I think John Lewis’ will create a big buzz initially and then soon die down.
Sam A: The advert uses great filming to a really clever effect to tell a heart-warming story – similarly to one of John Lewis’ best Christmas adverts, Monty the Penguin. A tie-in with a real star, and some smart supporting activities at the Oxford Street shop, have come together to make a real winner this Christmas.
Stu: I like the concept that a simple gift, combined with the right motivation and people that believe in you, can inspire anyone to follow their dreams. However, while it does feature some nice, sweeping camera work and CGI, the fact that Elton is promoting a farewell tour at the same time does mar the sentiment of the ad somewhat.
Lizzie: I was a little bit disappointed by this year’s effort. For me, the schoolboy who flings himself into a socket in Sainsbury’s ad is the superstar of the festive season!
— Lidl UK (@LidlUK) November 15, 2018