John Lewis teases its new Christmas ad

The retailer has hinted at a festive ad hinged on growing traditions. It will be the first developed with new agency Saatchi & Saatchi.

John Lewis & Partners has teased its 2023 Christmas ad on social media. The festive ad will be the first produced with its new agency partners Saatchi & Saatchi.

The short 10 second teaser was posted by the brand to channels including X (formerly known as Twitter). It depicts a young boy holding up a box labelled ‘perfect Christmas tree’ and asking his grandmother whether he can have it. He opens the box to reveal a seed.

The teaser bears the hashtag ‘traditions grow’ and confirms the ad will be released this Thursday (9 November).

This week’s John Lewis Christmas ad is highly anticipated by many in the marketing industry as it marks the brand’s first work with Saatchi & Saatchi. In previous years, the retailer’s festive ads, including ‘The Man on the Moon’ (2015) and ‘Excitable Edgar’ (2019) have garnered widespread attention.

Indeed, in 2019 ‘Excitable Edgar’ achieved the highest possible star rating of 5.9 in System1’s effectiveness rankings.

However, in recent years, John Lewis and previous agency partners Adam&EveDDB have been outshone by other brands in the festive ad rankings. Last year’s effort ‘The Beginner’ scored 3.3 stars in System1’s ranking and was strongly outperformed by the like of Asda’s Will Ferrell-centred ad and the return of Kevin the Carrot for Aldi.

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The new agency partnership comes amid a wider transformation for John Lewis. It has had a difficult year, reporting a £243m loss for its 2022 financial year back in March. Last month, the retailer’s chair Sharon White announced she would be stepping down at the end of her five-year term in February 2025. Her departure will make her the shortest-serving chair in John Lewis’s history, the BBC reported.

John Lewis’s customer director Charlotte Lock described the retailer as being on a “growth journey”. In May, Lock told Marketing Week that alongside new agency partners Saatchi & Saatchi, her team would work to enable that growth by ensuring they communicated “the John Lewis difference”.

“We’re really making sure we have great consumer understanding at the heart of our thinking,” she said. “We’re ensuring that our customers understand the difference.”

Speaking at the time, she pledged that Christmas 2023 would be “very special” for the retailer but emphasised that John Lewis is a brand which is relevant far beyond the festive season.