The ad tells how one gift inspired and influenced the course of a little boy’s life. That little boy just happens to be English singer, pianist, and composer Sir Elton John CBE.
With Elton’s ‘Your Song’ as the soundtrack, the story begins in present day and works backwards chronologically through Elton’s life, until the moment he received the gift of his grandmother’s piano that changed his life.
All 83,000 John Lewis and Waitrose staff shared the two minute 20 second advert first at 6am, before it was launched on the company’s social media channels, johnlewis.com and in shops at 8am.
The ad will air on TV this evening at 9.15pm on ITV, during ‘Dark Heart’. ITV viewers may have also noticed that yesterday in, a hint towards the launch of the advert today, the soundtracks to some of the channel’s shows (including ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘This Morning’), were given a twist when they were played solely in piano notes.
John Lewis & Partners customer director Craig Inglis said: “Think back to all of the Christmases that you have enjoyed over the years – I’m sure there is one very special gift that stands out above all others. That’s the magical feeling we wanted to bring to life this year. The ad tells the story of why Elton’s piano was more than just a gift and we hope to remind customers of that special moment when they’ve given a gift at Christmas time that they know will be treasured forever.”
Elton John said: “The John Lewis Christmas campaign has so many warm memories for me and my family. It’s been a lovely opportunity for me to reflect on my life in music and the incredible journey I’ve been on, and how first playing my Grandmother’s piano marks the moment when music came into my life. The ad is absolutely fantastic and I’ve truly loved every minute of being a part of it.”
The department store group said: ‘Speculation in recent months around the costs associated with this year’s ad is wildly inaccurate and our total spend is similar to previous years.
‘The Christmas TV ad is an important investment for John Lewis and is a crucial part of our overall marketing campaign, driving sales throughout the key Christmas trading period. To date it has proven to be one of the most effective marketing campaigns in the industry, delivering an excellent return on investment.
‘When first approached to be part of this year’s John Lewis Christmas ad, Elton requested that a portion of his fee was to be donated to the Elton John Charitable Trust.’
In John Lewis’ most experiential Christmas campaign to date, customers shopping in the retailer’s flagship branch on London’s Oxford Street are invited to step into the set of the ad and experience it for themselves.
The shop is hosting a 2,000sq ft experiential space on the third floor where customers can explore the dressing room, recording studio and living room sets from the ad, and interact with props, listen to recordings from Elton John’s ‘17-11-70’ album and have photos taken at the piano. The set is one of a range of ad experiences in the shop that will have customers stepping into Christmas on every floor. Oxford Street, along with 14 further shops across the UK, will also have a Yamaha piano for customers to play.
John Lewis added that ‘in a first for the UK high street’, customers will also be able to enjoy a musical light show, which will be projected from the shop’s Oxford Street windows every 30 minutes from 4pm. Performing Elton John’s song ‘Step Into Christmas’, the window displays will fill the shopping street with music and display a one minute light show to entertain passers-by.