Why do the John Lewis Christmas adverts make us cry?

What can advertisers learn from John Lewis?

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Screenshot from John Lewis Christmas ad 2019
Watch John Lewis Christmas advert 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 this time of year.

Watch John Lewis Christmas advert 2012

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. Advertisers are always selling something, and John Lewis’ ROI for these adverts is their most profitable. But, the adverts also manage to bring a little bit of happiness to those of us who watch it — that feels like a valuable exchange to me.

“Nothing is more efficient than creative advertising. Creative advertising is more memorable, longer lasting, works with less media spending, and builds a fan community…faster.” — Stephen Vogel

The adverts usually have a plot twist and an unexpected ending — hence the mini film formula. This art of understanding what drives an audience is one that builds a strong personal brand. Connect with your consumer on a level they respond emotionally to, and the rest will fall into place.

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.

Watch John Lewis Christmas advert 2011

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’. After John Lewis’ success in using the mini film formula, we’ve found other brands joining this style of advertising. But, have any captured our hearts this year quite like little Excitable Edgar has? For me, not quite, but McDonald’s are a close second with their #ReindeerReady campaign.

Watch McDonald’s Christmas advert 2019

Written by

Photographer and Writer. Based in Scotland. Using Medium for opinion pieces, marketing advice, and motivational articles. https://www.laurenmacneish.com/

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