Why The Snowman John Lewis Christmas Advert Rocks

I know that Christmas is coming when all the retailers’ advertisements start to be broadcast on TV. For most people, the first sign of Christmas is seeing the Coca-Cola ‘Holidays are Coming’ ad featuring the usual moving, illuminated Coca-Cola lorry, excitable children and a jolly old Santa.

But my Christmas starts when I see the John Lewis ad. After last year’s complete and utter gem following a young boy’s impatience for Christmas to arrive so he could give his parents the present that he had lovingly bought for them (see it here), I didn’t think the company could top it. Oh how wrong I was!

This year’s John Lewis Christmas advert has to be the best yet – titled ‘The Journey’ (see it here). Not only is it fantastically put together but it also features some of the most beautiful scenery as it was shot in New Zealand. The narrative is incredibly heart-warming, telling the tale of a determined snowman who will brave the elements, travel across the country and do whatever it takes to get the right gift for his snow-missus. It celebrates the extra mile we all go to at Christmas to find the perfect present.

The narrative is coupled with new artist Gabrielle Aplin’s piano-led version of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘The Power of Love’, which is very powerful. The story, combined with the editing, the scenery and the soundtrack makes for a truly emotional and astounding piece of film-making by creative director, Ben Priest.

It cost six million pounds to make in total, but is it going to do its job of driving traffic to John Lewis stores?

I look forward to seeing the advert every year because they always do an amazing job, but it doesn’t make me desperate to shop at John Lewis for Christmas (granted, it’s always due to the fact that I cannot afford to). However, I read that last year the campaign with the young boy increased their festive sales by 9.3%, so no wonder the company is spending so much money to guarantee the same this year! And they might do even better, as this advert is even greater.

I’ve seen it a few times now, and every time that I watch it I just want to cry! I adore the snowman character.

‘We never set out to make the viewers cry’, insists Ben Priest. ‘But we have a responsibility to create something special.’

And that they did, that they did. Good job, John Lewis.

(Note: this post contains images and statistics from The Independent online.)


  1. November 18, 2012 / 12:49 pm

    Why do you think this advert may not drive traffic to John Lewis stores?

  2. November 18, 2012 / 4:13 pm

    I'm just wondering if there may be people out there, like me, that watch the advert and appreciate it… But it doesn't make them go to a store or visit the John Lewis website (these people might not be in target age group like I'm not).

    I can't really afford John Lewis products, like many people in our current recessionary climate, but it is an aspirational advert. I suppose I would want to be part of the customer base if I could.

    Thanks for your comment and I hope that answers your question!


  3. November 18, 2012 / 4:38 pm

    Good analysis!!

    This advert has many objectives:

    1. To gain media value which translates into brand value. Through the beauty of this advert, John Lewis certainly gained the brand value.

    2. To do better than the competitors. This is the time all the brands launch their Christmas advert to gain the attention of people. Certainly this advert has done much better than their rivals.

    3. To drive traffic into stores and gain sales conversion. Through this advert John Lewis has reached their target audience with a clear message that would drive the traffic to their stores. In this case, you may not be their target audience and hence they could not sell their product to you.

    However, you have a desire for John Lewis products and when you have budget to afford aspirational products, the memory of this advert will prompt you to visit their store. Hence they have still won you as their customer through this advert, if not today but for tomorrow 🙂


  4. November 20, 2012 / 4:36 pm

    Totally agree!

    Especially with number two; it is definitely the best Christmas advert around!

    Thanks for your thoughts, Yuva! 🙂


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