The U.Ok.’s most anticipated advert of the yr—retailer John Lewis’ Christmas marketing campaign—is right here, and this time it highlights a critical societal concern behind its sometimes emotive story.

The advert, titled “The Newbie” and created by the model’s long-time company adam&eveDDB, raises consciousness of the various youngsters who’re within the foster care system, however by way of the lens of an surprising household story.

The narrative follows a middle-aged man’s comedic efforts to discover ways to skateboard. The duty consumes him, whether or not he’s sneakily watching how-to movies within the workplace or spending evenings on the skate park amongst youngsters. The scenes present him earnestly­—and sometimes awkwardly—making an attempt to grasp the talent, even to the purpose of injuring himself.

On the finish, his true motivation for battling this exercise turns into clear when a social employee arrives at his dwelling with a woman named Ellie, whom he and his spouse will probably be fostering. She is holding a skateboard, and the dad tells her: “I skate a bit too.” It seems he had found the woman’s ardour earlier than she moved in and immersed himself in it so he might bond together with her.

The soundtrack is a canopy of Blink-182’s 1999 music “All of the Small Issues,” carried out by American singer Mike Geier.

Supporting younger individuals

The final shot of the advert tells viewers that there are greater than 108,000 youngsters and younger individuals within the U.Ok.’s care system and highlights the model’s long-term dedication to supporting them. The marketing campaign goals to acknowledge these youngsters throughout a family-focused vacation when they might really feel extra remoted, and it encourages the general public to make a distinction of their lives.

John Lewis Partnership, the corporate that operates John Lewis and grocery store Waitrose, launched a multiyear program in October referred to as Constructing Happier Futures, which guarantees to offer employment alternatives inside its group to younger individuals who have left the care system, and to additionally help them by way of coaching, charity partnerships and consciousness constructing.

The corporate has partnered with Motion for Kids and Who Cares Scotland, two U.Ok. charities that work with care skilled youngsters. As a part of the Christmas marketing campaign, it is going to promote a spread of Lewis Bear merchandise, with 25% of gross sales benefitting the organizations, host Santa’s grottos in shops for households and children from care and put up giving bushes in John Lewis and Waitrose outlets, from which prospects can take tags price completely different financial quantities, scan them on the tills and make charity donations.

John Lewis can also be calling on different companies and the U.Ok. authorities to acknowledge this often-overlooked concern and help younger individuals rising up within the care system. It’s highlighting the boundaries that they usually face, similar to the truth that a youngster who leaves the care system is thrice extra prone to expertise homelessness than go to college.

“We need to use our voice and… amplify a dialog not many individuals are having,” mentioned Ceira Thom, head of studying at John Lewis & Companions.

The model and adam&eveDDB collaborated with social staff, individuals who have gone by way of the care system and advisory teams to make sure the advert was genuine—although it acknowledged that this was just one depiction of the foster care expertise. Claire Pointon, buyer director at John Lewis, mentioned this initiative is “not only for Christmas” and can present up at numerous factors within the model’s communications over the following yr.

When it comes to using younger individuals from foster care, the John Lewis Partnership has not set a particular goal, but it surely has already employed greater than 20 care skilled individuals in everlasting positions throughout the corporate this yr and plans to run one other 25 pilots subsequent yr that can look to supply coaching and job alternatives.

Thom emphasised that greater than a charity initiative, the younger individuals from the Constructing Happier Futures program supply a singular set of expertise, together with resilience and creativity, to the enterprise: “We’re fortunate for what they carry to our group,” she mentioned. “We’re higher off for having them in it.”

A inventive pivot

The advert is a special inventive path for John Lewis, which is understood for its extra whimsical and magical tales at Christmastime. Final yr, for instance, the model depicted an alien that crash-lands on Earth and experiences its first festive traditions. Earlier campaigns have usually employed animation methods and excessive manufacturing values, with characters together with an excitable dragon, a cuddly monster that lives beneath the mattress, a pet boxer determined to leap on his household’s trampoline, a boy’s stuffed penguin toy that involves life and even Elton John.

Whereas this yr’s advert nonetheless tugs on the coronary heart strings and has light-hearted moments, it’s lacking the fantastical parts with the intention to handle a wider societal concern.

Within the present flurry of Christmas campaigns—the vacation season is the British equal of the Tremendous Bowl for advertisers—many manufacturers together with John Lewis have additionally tried to replicate the nationwide temper amid the price of residing disaster. For instance, well being and wonder retailer Boots highlighted affordability and mentioned it toned down the glitz and glamor in its vacation advert. 

In John Lewis’ case, value of residing issues knowledgeable the advert’s tone, in addition to its manufacturing values, that are “very completely different” from earlier years, mentioned Pointon. 

However a number of parts of the Christmas marketing campaign are nonetheless quintessentially John Lewis. The soundtrack, for instance, is one other slowed-down cowl music, although this one already existed and was not particularly commissioned by the model.

“The Newbie” remains to be an emotive household story, as is typical of the model’s Christmas adverts, however this a real-life model as an alternative of fantasy.

“It’s a special type of household story,” Pointon defined. “However what’s on the coronary heart remains to be pleasure.”

The Christmas advert additionally comes throughout an important gross sales interval for the John Lewis Partnership. Like many different retailers, the enterprise has been struggling, reporting a lack of $114 million (99 million kilos) within the first half of 2022 and warning that its employees might not obtain their annual bonuses. It has closed quite a few shops over the previous couple of years.

“A profitable Christmas is essential for the enterprise given the primary half,” John Lewis group chair Sharon White mentioned in September when the corporate launched its monetary outcomes.


Model: John Lewis

Buyer director: Claire Pointon

Head of name and advertising: Rosie Hanley
Promoting lead: Emma Wooden
Senior promoting supervisor: Holly Kicul

Company: adam&eveDDB

Chief inventive officer: Richard Brim

Creatives: Edward Usher, Xander Hart, Richard McGrann, Andy Clough

Inventive administrators: Matt Homosexual, Feargal Ballance
Company producer: Sally Pritchett
Assistant producer: Charlotte Ellison
CSO: Martin Beverley
Planning associate: Hugh De Winton
Senior planner: Sian Iles
Mission managers: Alice Southam, Ian Hughes
Social director: Phoebe Wright
Social supervisor: Osob Yusuf
CEO: Tammy Einav
Managing associate: Sarah Coleman
Enterprise director: Betsy Bluer
Account director: Cicely Milsom
Account supervisor: Carrie Pollock
Enterprise affairs: Jamie Hirst

Design: King Henry

Designer: Dave Robinson

Social manufacturing: Cain & Abel

Producer: Richard Bailey

Head of movement graphics: Ed Christie
Movement designer: Curtis Reeves

Media company: Manning Gottlieb

Govt director: Geraldine Ridgeway

Enterprise director: Melanie Dixon
Account director: Callum Newbury

Manufacturing firm: Biscuit Filmworks UK 

Md and govt producer: Rupert Reynolds—Maclean 

Govt producer: Sam Chitty 
Producer: Lee Groombridge 
Manufacturing supervisor: Davina Abrahams 
Director of pictures: Daniel Landin 
Manufacturing designer: Jon Henson 
Costume: Lucy Hagan 

Modifying firm: Work Editorial

Editors: Wealthy Orrick, Artwork Jones

Edit assistant: Miles Watson
Producer: Charlie Dalton

VFX: Nineteentwenty

VFX producer: David Keegan

VFX supervisor: Ludo Fealy
VFX shoot supervisor: Rod Norman
VFX artists: Jamie Stitson, Adam McHale, Alejandro Marzo, Yanru Yin, Tijan Holder, Emily Govinden, Matt Hutchins
Information operator and 2D artist: George Rankin
Digital matte portray: Benita Winckler