How John Lewis won Christmas

Andy Ball, managing director at Balls2 Marketing, looks at how a department store’s annual Christmas advertising campaign became one of the most anticipated events of the year.

There aren’t many brands that have the power to captivate an entire nation on an annual basis, but that’s exactly what John Lewis does every Christmas. Its latest festive ad has taken a turn with a tribute to one of Britain’s best-loved artists: Elton John.

It’s a bit of a switch from the Man on the Moon advert, which saw the retailer sell out of their ‘make your own telescope’ kits. Other years have featured loveable characters like Buster the Boxer, Monty the Penguin, and Moz the Monster – easily adapted into cuddly toys that always sell out.

This year, the associated products ‘inspired by our Christmas advert’ include Elton John T-shirts and records by other musical legends like Queen, The Who and The Beatles, as well as a selection of nicely priced keyboards and pianos, to gift to your own little Elton this Christmas.

There is a great lesson to be learned from the John Lewis Christmas campaigns: the value of storytelling. Often in B2B marketing, companies can forget how important storytelling is for building your brand and attracting new business.

Tugging on heart strings and giving that warm gooey feeling might not be easily translated into sales and marketing messages for the glazing industry, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t use a bit of the John Lewis magic. The key is finding the pressure points of your audience and solving a problem for them to make their work life that little bit better – tell the story of how you can help them.

Remember that brand awareness is an incredible thing. Creating an eye-catching, story-led campaign gives companies a nice push into the awareness stage of the sales process. If you want to tell the story of your brand in 2019, give me call.