Skip to content
John Lewis Christmas Advert Formula

The John Lewis Christmas advert formula

It’s that time of year again! How dare we talk about the dreaded C word already! Well, we are a marketing agency, it’s simply our job to be talking about it this early- much, much earlier in fact!

Now that these big brands have really upped their game (and budget) with their Christmas adverts and marketing campaigns, it’s not just us that gets excited about the Christmas advert season; it seems like the whole of the U.K is getting ready for that special X Factor prime-time advert break to view John Lewis’s infamous yearly viral marketing moment.
Here’s our breakdown of the John Lewis Christmas advert formula, can you predict this year’s new John Lewis Ad?

The indie classic cover

From tracks by Elton John and Guns N Roses to The Smiths and Keane – the twee cover song has become synonymous with the John Lewis ad formula. Generally steering clear of typical Christmas tunes and instead opting to re-work indie pop classics. The song will be recognisable (to people over 25 at least) but you’ll never have noticed how sweet the lyrics were before. Whose turn will it be to get the John Lewis treatment this year?

Our predictions:

The Cure – Lovesong. ‘However far away, I will always love you’
The Killers – When you were young. ‘And sometimes you close your eyes and see the place where you used to live, When you were young’
Bloc Party – Two More Years. ‘You’ve cried enough this lifetime, my beloved polar bear.’
Wild Card – Wolfman feat Pete Doherty, For Lovers. ‘This is for lovers, running away, just for today.’

The alternative but kinda popular singer-songwriter

Past adverts have been soundtracked by the likes of Ellie Goulding, Tom Odell and Gabrielle Aplin but who will sing sweet soft lyrics this time around? It could be that we see someone who’s been hiding from the limelight- ready to relaunch once again like last year’s Lily Allen.

Our predictions:

Rae Morris
Lucy Rose
Wild Card: Pete Doherty

The cute animal to be turned into merchandise

Everyone loves a fluffy toy! After Monty The Penguin we’re not quite sure what could top it! We’re not gonna have a stuffed toy cupboard big enough to fit them all soon. Wait, it’s not just us that has a stuffed toy cupboard- right?

Our predictions:

Baby husky
Wild Card: Cute robot

The tear duct inducing moment

It is so important in content marketing to generate an emotional response, people relate to love, heartache, being lost, childhood and all that jazz. Emotion generates shares, so this, combined with a well-timed lyrical, indie classic masterpiece is crucial.

Our predictions:

Lost Kitten finally finds his way home on Christmas Eve.
Mr Otter finally finds that something that was missing for his ever-so-perfect Christmas tree.
Baby Husky finally gets to pull the sleigh.
Wild Card: Cute robot get the chance to run away from the factory with his robot girlfriend for Christmas Day.

The hashtag

The thing that makes it truly viral in the digital space is the inevitable and essential hashtag. Alliteration is advisable, cuteness is a given and if you can guess it without even seeing it -you’ve nailed it.

Our predictions (based on cute animal):

#LostKitten (aww)

So what do you think? If we had our way, we’d be seeing a Cute Robot (#RunawayRobot) running away with his robot girlfriend from the factory – his only day off on the calendar- for Christmas Day to find an abundance of presents, with a throwback indie cover of ‘For Lovers’ sung by Pete Doherty himself.