Telling stories through advertising: The John Lewis technique

John Lewis has done something that few advertisers manage to do — they’ve created a tradition that pulls at the heartstrings of consumers.

Screenshot from John Lewis Christmas ad 2019

Capturing imaginations

It’s a well-known fact that advertising campaigns that capture imaginations are more likely to be successful. Emotions are heightened during the Christmas season; buying gifts, bringing people together, and spending time with our loved ones. These adverts work on the psychology of how we’re feeling at that time of year.

Creating memories

The audience anticipation for these annual adverts has become a bit of a phenomenon in the UK. “Have you watched the John Lewis advert?” is often heard around the workplace.

Triggering sentimentality

At the heart of these adverts is their ability to evoke sentimentality: joy, warmth, and nostalgia. These triggers of emotional response are what encourage us to share the videos and spread the message of the story they’re telling.

A new wave of mini-films

We’ve always loved a good Christmas advert that pulls at our emotions, haven’t we? Things like Coca Cola’s ‘Holidays are Coming’ truck are the triggers that make us feel ‘Christmassy’.

Photographer and writer. Based in Scotland. Using Medium for opinion pieces, marketing advice, and motivational articles.

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