For many, the John Lewis Christmas adverts have become a beloved Christmas tradition, much like
turkey, Christmas films and festive songs. This year however, many have been left disappointed with the 2018 advert released on 15th November.
The advert portrays the life of famed singer-songwriter Elton John condensed into little over two
minutes. The advert begins with Elton playing at his piano alone, wearing his dressing gown, bathed under the lights of a nearby twinkling Christmas tree. He then begins to play his award-winning single ‘Your Song’ (first released back in 1970) and as the music plays, we are shown moments of his glitzy life through the years – in reverse order.
A montage of stadium performances ensues; from pub sing-songs, to enraptured outdoor stages and even a little Elton (then Reginald Dwight) sat at his piano in his school hall while his proud mum looks on. The advert concludes with the young boy being gifted with his first piano, which then transitions to Elton as he is now, reminiscing in the same room at the same piano.
It is all very sweet and characteristic of John Lewis; their message at the end of ‘Some gifts are more than just a gift’ is a theme throughout all of their Christmas adverts. Add in the appearance of the nation’s favourite songwriter and it was surely a recipe for success. Yet unlike previous years, the advert has been a bit of a flop. Many have scathingly said that it is too focused on Elton John and his success. Compared with previous years’ adverts with cute woodland animals, romancing penguins and a dog who just wants to bounce on a trampoline, 2018 has lacked some of the charm that the other adverts held.
This advert may be an indirect nod towards the Elton John biopic Rocketman which will be released
in 2019. On the back of the successful Freddy Mercury film Bohemian Rhapsody, which was released to rave reviews last month, Elton’s PR team may be anticipating a similarly warm welcome for the motion picture. The advert has left many wondering however whether the keenly expected John Lewis ad is the right place to remind us of Elton’s upcoming film.
With the total cost of the advert being around £7 million, the superstar pocketed an unnamed six-
figure sum for his appearance in the advert. In the apparent Christmas spirit, he has reportedly given a portion of his fee to charity.
Sainsbury’s Christmas advert this year, features an over the top school production with a number of
‘aww’ moments. It is coincidentally similar to John Lewis’ previous advert released back in
September, which also had an extravagant school play, set to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ funnily enough.
The Sainsbury’s ad seems to have won the public’s favour this year, with one particular child dressed as a plug launching himself into a socket, spawning the hashtag ‘pluglife’, which many are using in their support of the ad. Perhaps John Lewis will be losing their title of best Christmas advert with stiff competition from an influential store like Sainsbury’s.
What are your thoughts on the advert? Comment below and share your opinion with The Galleon!