Intuition is not a sentiment you expect to hear in this data-driven marketing world. But in many ways it was reassuring that John Lewis' Customer Director's gut-feeling was that the Elton John concept for the retailer's Christmas advert would resonate with their audiences.
The great Christmas TV ads are often a leap of faith. But probably can only be made by those brands that have a true sense of themselves.
John Lewis' guiding approach to their festive moments is that the ad campaign needs to reflect 'thoughtful gifting' and going the extra mile. Clarity about the brand, telling the right story and reaching a mass audience is what really matters for the retailer at Christmas.
I am sure behind the scenes there will be data analysts at work measuring awareness, engagement, sharing, brand sentiment etc., but we probably won't know until next year whether the intuition paid off and did Elton ultimately deliver sales!
It is, as has come to be expected from John Lewis, a major piece of creative that tells a story and has that ‘feel good’ factor. Even if the retailer’s customer director Craig Inglis argues the ad is actually a “very understated story” about a boy and his piano that “could almost be anyone”. But compared to John Lewis’s previous Christmas campaigns – which have included Moz the Monster, Buster the Boxer, Man on the Moon, Monty the Penguin and Bear and the Hare – 2018 marks a significant change in creative direction for the retailer. That is something Inglis says the retailer really pushed for when giving long-standing agency adam&eveDDB the brief at the beginning of the year.