John Lewis uses 2022 Christmas ad to ignite conversations about children in care

John Lewis & Partners has unveiled its 2022 Christmas ad, which forms part of its long-term commitment to help young people in the care system enter employment.

“The beginner” by Adam & Eve/DDB – the retailer’s long-standing agency – tells the story of a man learning to skateboard.

He is seen practising in the street, injuring himself, trying to perform tricks and watching how-to videos when he is supposed to be working. In the background, his partner is organising things for someone’s arrival.

At the end it transpires that the couple has been preparing for the arrival of a new foster daughter, Ellie. When the man answers the door it is revealed that he has been trying to find a common interest with Ellie as she is seen holding a skateboard.

The music played over the film is a cover of Blink 182’s All the Small Things, performed by Mike Geier. Unlike John Lewis’ previous ads, the track was not commissioned specifically for the campaign.

The work has been created by Edward Usher, Xander Hart, Richard McGrann and Andy Clough.

It launches today (Thursday 10 November) across social media at 8am. The ad will also be reviewed by Gogglebox talent on Channel 4 on Friday 18 November. John Lewis’ media planning and buying is handled by MG OMD.

The campaign aims to ignite conversations around what John Lewis said is “often an overlooked issue”. It explained that there are an estimated 100,000 children and young people who will spend this Christmas in care and they can feel “isolated and forgotten”.

The ad has been created with input from John Lewis’ partner charities Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland. It is the first time that the work has been tested with John Lewis’ customers too. The retailer usually tests the work among its staff.

Claire Pointon, director of customer at John Lewis, said that this is “one of the most comprehensively” tested Christmas ads that the retailer has produced. She explained that it was important to show that the family that Ellie had been placed with was realistic.

John Lewis’ Building Happier Futures programme launched last month and aims to help young people in care prepare for employment as well as providing apprenticeship opportunities within the John Lewis Partnership.

As part of the Christmas campaign, John Lewis will invite children in care and their caregivers to visit Santa’s Grotto and transform the communal spaces of selected residential facilities run by Action for Children with electronics, furnishings and decorations.

In-store at John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners there will be opportunities for customers to donate to the charities through a “giving tree” from which they can take a tag (which will have a value between £5 and £50) and scan it with their shopping.

The retailer is also donating 25% of sales from Christmas products to its charity partner. These include Lewis Bear £30, Lewis Bear pyjamas £19, Lewis Bear tote bag £5, Lewis Bear Chocolate slims £5, Lewis Bear Bauble Head £5, and Rampage Skateboard £34.99.

Pointon explained that the retailer wanted purpose to be at the heart of its campaign. She added that the retailer has made a point of not using special effects.

She also said that it was important for this work to be depicted as real life and not fantasy and joy is at the heart of the ad.

Pointon added: “We are fortunate to have a truly unique platform in our Christmas ad, which sparks a national conversation. As a purpose-led brand, making a genuine difference in our communities is important.

“At John Lewis we care deeply about families, and recognise that they come in many different forms. For our biggest moment of the year, we decided to focus on one kind of family that is often overlooked.

“We are also very aware that not all care experience outcomes are as positive as Ellie’s. The home Ellie enters is filled with kindness, and the foster father’s actions demonstrate that ultimately, it’s what you do that matters most.”

This article was originally published in Campaign

MG OMD FWD 9th November

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of MG OMD FWD.

Next project