Behind the scenes on the John Lewis Christmas ad

The new John Lewis Christmas ad was a huge collaborative effort between teams in the UK and the US. CR talks to Elliot Dear, co-director on the spot with Yves Geleyn, about how it was done.

The new John Lewis Christmas ad was a huge collaborative effort between teams in the UK and the US. CR talks to Elliot Dear, co-director on the spot with Yves Geleyn, about how it was done.

The animated commercial, which launched this weekend on British TV and is shown below, is the latest in a series of Christmas ads from John Lewis, and was met with almost feverish anticipation by the media, a rare example nowadays of an advert being something of an event. It is created by ad agency Adam & Eve/DDB and is a sweet story about the friendship between a bear and a hare at Christmastime. As a soundtrack it features Lily Allen singing Keane’s 2004 hit Somewhere Only We Know.

Elliot Dear on set

Elliot Dear had only briefly met Yves Geleyn before they were asked to work together on the pitch. It is unusual for two directors to be brought together to work on a project, but it was decided that the two combined would offer added weight to the team’s proposal. They faced stiff competition: CR understands that the other directors in the mix included Pete Candeland from Passion and Psyop.

Dear is represented by Blinkink, which is based in the UK, and Geleyn by Hornet in the US. The two production companies had recently formed an alliance to represent each others’ directors, so as well as offering a double whammy to the agency and client, the teaming up of the directors showed that the two companies could work well together. “It was to fortify that alliance,” agrees Dear, “but also because we were up against bigger boys, two showreels are better than one. We’ve got similar sensibilities, similar tastes in terms of aesthetics.”

Character drawings for the animation

The pitch was a long process, and the initial brief from the agency was fairly loose. There were references such as Bambi, but the directors were left to propose the exact look of the spot themselves. “It was a lot of decoding of what it was they were after,” says Dear, “because they liked the charm of 2D animation but they liked the nostalgia and the texture and tangibility of stuff that came with stop motion. But we didn’t think they wanted it to be CG.”

The finished ad is an innovative combination of 2D stop motion drawings shot on a 3D set, a process that Dear initially explored as a student, and also in some of the music videos he has created that were shown to the agency as part of the pitch (see more of Dear’s work here). “I remembered something that I was doing when I was a student,” he explains, “which was to do illustrations, cut them out and place them in front of the camera and make these almost pantomime-y sets with them. Photograph them and then you get lens effects and focal depth and lens flares and things, but they’ve still got an illustrative quality.”

Some of the finished drawings used in the animation

The problem was that examples where this technique had been used before were few and far between, so it was difficult to find references to show the agency of how the finished film would look. “Obviously you’ve got to show people that you can do it, prove that you can pull it off, and a lot of the time I think it’s easy to go ‘it’s going to look a bit like this’, but there’s nothing out there. I think there’s a film called Flatworld that was done in the 90s and then music videos and bits and pieces that are done in quite a rough way using that technique. But it has never really been done on this scale and with this precision, as far as I can tell. That might not be true – but if it’s out there, we couldn’t find it. So finding references and making people believe that it’s going to work was a really tough part of it.”

The solution to this was for the team to make some animation themselves. They did a test shoot using a bear walk from the Disney film Brother Bear, setting him within a snowy set. “We managed to get 20 seconds or so out of a test that was quite convincing and it did what we wanted it to do, which was have the charm and texture of a 2D animation, but then with real light on it so it cast shadows out of this model set and then the world felt deep and textured, which is what we were trying to do.”

This early test can be seen in the making-of film, below. The test took over a week to complete and was shot on a shoestring budget using interns. But the effort was worth it. “I’ve heard that that’s what won it for us,” says Dear.

Photographs showing the front and back of drawings used in the shoot

In addition to the director combo of Dear and Geleyn, the Blinkink/Hornet pitch was given added weight by the presence of Disney character designers and animators who were brought in at pitch stage to design how the animals in the ad would look. The team was looking for a character designer who created animals which were realistic-looking rather than cartoons. They found Aaron Blaise, the director of Brother Bear (the film that was used as a reference for the test), who had also worked on The Lion King and Pocahontas among other classics. “He’s an amazing artist, incredible,” says Dear, “he really understands animals. He spends a lot of his time in the wild, going on safari and life drawing animals and studying how they move.”

Blaise came back with the “most amazing drawings” straightaway. “They were really close to the final ones but because he’d had 25 years of doing Disney stuff, we had to strip a few things away,” says Dear. “Things like quite human eyebrows. Animals don’t have eyebrows but out of habit these guys were giving them human touches. Pretty eyelashes that turn up at the corners – things that would have a slightly Disney feel to them.” A big part of the process for Dear and Geleyn was getting the look of the animation to feel British, rather than American.

“That was a big must from John Lewis and the agency,” says Dear. “We were saying the whole time, it’s all about restraint, it’s all about restraint.”

Photographs from the shoot showing the set

Dear is a relatively young director, and this was by far the biggest commercial job he had worked on. He’d made his name in music videos and has shot ads for brands, including BT, but it was still an intimidating moment when he found himself asking Blaise to make adjustments to his work. “When I had my first conference call with him I was so embarrassed to be commenting on someone’s work,” he recalls. “You think, ‘who am I…?’ It felt ridiculous. I said, “I’m mildly embarrassed about this Aaron, so bear with me’. By the end of the project we had a good relationship.”

Blaise did all the character design for the bear and the hare in the spot, and worked with a team based in Florida, who ‘cleaned-up’ the drawings once they had been signed off. Back in the UK, Dear and Geleyn assembled a team to work with the drawings and do the colouring on them. “We’d get vectorized versions sent over, because they were scanning them in, so we’d put them into Flash and we had our guys do the colouring and stuff,” says Dear. Once the line drawings were coloured in, they would be printed onto boards and laser cut and then given to the animator to use on the 3D set.

Photographs from the shoot

For the set design, Dear suggested John Lee, a veteran modelmaker who has worked on Aliens and also Fantastic Mr Fox. In fact, Dear had met him when he was interning on the latter film, another testament to how far the director has come in just a few years. “I said ‘let’s get John Lee in, he’s great’,” says Dear. “He happened to be free and was really excited about the project. He ended up doing all the sets. I’d already met a lot of his team already, but I was just the guy emptying the dishwasher when I saw them before … it was quite sobering.”

The teams on the different continents worked in tandem with one another, with parts of the ad being shot in London while drawings for other sections were still being completed in Florida. Despite the intensity of the process, everyone worked well together, with Geleyn and Dear complementing each other’s working styles. The relationship between the agency and the production team was also successful. A common complaint from directors on animations is that clients or agencies will want changes at the last minute – requests that can take a long time in an animated work. But Dear remembers the process with the agency in a positive light. “The creatives that were working on it were very collaborative and often sympathetic and had a really good eye actually,” he says.

The directors, plus bear, during the shoot

Dear is happy with the final commercial, but it is the collaborative process that he looks back on most fondly. “I think the most valuable thing, I don’t know if it sounds really corny, is getting to work with the people I got to work with and the kind of relationships that got built up,” he says. “I haven’t done a lot of stuff like this, and you just drink it in. Listening to a director of photography talking to their assistant, and watching how they work, getting to sit down and do set dressing and modelmaking with these people who work in films…. Every day it’s like you’re on summer camp, it’s amazing.”

Credits:
Agency: Adam & Eve/DDB
ECD: Ben Priest
Creative directors: Aidan McClure, Laurent Simon
Production companies: Blinkink/Hornet
Directors: Elliot Dear, Yves Geleyn
2D Animation: Premise Entertainment LLC
2D Animation Supervisors: Aaron Blaise, Dominic Carola
Production designer/Supervising modeller: John Lee
Making-of film: Jake Hopwell, Josh Hine
Post-production: Blinkink Studios


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  • James

    The advert itself is vomit inducing saccharine corporate emptiness – but the animation is awesome; great behind the scenes look!

  • The shame here is that the lengthy, arduous task to go and create the crafty feel is totally lost in the final ad. They might have save a lot of time to go down a different road to achieve the desired effect. Bit of a let down for me.

  • lordnapier

    Agreed w/James.

    Looks really great. I’m not convinced on the technique though, doesn’t seem like it was capitalised on. Even some subtle light catching paint in the rabbits and bears eyes might have brought something more out. Or something. Could have saved a load and comped all the animation in. Would have saved a small fortune! But suppose xmas is about flossing needlessly.

    Looks pretty, good job

  • Geez. You lot are a bitter bunch. Great work. Good to see some traditional processes instead of going straight for CGI.

  • Ed Wright

    Shut the front door! I had no idea that they were cut-out illustrations, photographed in place. Amazing!

  • Animation Proffesional

    For all those saying you could have done it in the computer. You are totally right, of course you could. There is something unique and special about the craft in this. The shadows are real. The lighting is real. The 2d animations interact with real 3d objects. The card does pick up light on the edges. The frames have scuff marks and scratches on them. There are imperfections present that you would never recreate if it were all done in the computer. What has been done is harking back to the old rostrum camera and glass plates. It’s very clever.

    I for one think this is an amazing project and great technique. Just because you can do something in the computer, doesn’t mean you should. As for saving money. Post production and CG is just as expensive as doing stuff in camera and has so little soul.

  • George

    Was quite amazed when I realised that they were done without the complete use of CGI. Well done to all involved!

  • Red

    Oh wow! Love seeing this type of BTS content, shows the hard work and creativity that goes into these productions.

  • I could tell when I first saw the advert that some things looked real, like the present outside the bears cave for example, but I had no idea that so much of it was real. As a sculptress myself I love seeing the work in progress and the process , and I loved watching her making the tree, that was magical, but I do somewhat agree with a previous comment, that some of this is lost in the advert, I couldn’t tell the tree was real, some of it is lost, which is a shame. Having said that, the impact of the advert did bring out my inner child, and it actually made me cry, so sweet and heartwarming.

    Well done guys, great job

  • Chris

    just perfect!

  • I have to agree with Animation Pro. What is so often lost with a complete CGI treatment are the nuances that give a piece it’s overall feel. When you see how much attention and craft is going into creating this ad, it is little wonder that it ‘feels’ different. The team are experimenting with techniques. It’s not an algorithm being applied to create a textured scene, it’s hours of painstaking attention, and for me the result will always exude that energy even if we can’t quite put our finger on what it is that’s different.
    CGI can be used to amazing effect as it was recently in the movie Gravity. I was totally absorbed in the CGI sci-fi world created. However, I’m encouraged that the directors here were able to sell their ideas to the agency/client and given the opportunity to explore this beautiful mix of 2D and 3D animation.
    If we only spoon feed the viewing audiences with one type of food they will completely lose the taste for anything different and then eating becomes bland. What a dull world that would be.

  • After reading some crticism found in the comments here, I went back to video and watched it again, but this time in full HD. This changed the experience multifold.

  • V Hooley

    The best Christmas advert on the TV, all the children love it and it’s teaching them to think of others not just them selves

  • Colin

    To the critics, yes it is saccharine. Yes, it could all be CGI. But in this case, I am glad that the John Lewis PR team went for the old fashioned methodology. Beautifully crafted, this is more Watership Down than Walt Disney in style and I, for one, say thank you to the team that created this gem.

    I can see this one being a Christmas Classic for years to come.

  • Alan

    The behind-the-scenes stuff has made me like this ad much, much more than I did when it was announced as an “Advertising Feature” on my tele screen at the weekend; the level of craft and detail is really wonderful to see.

    In fact compared to other big crimbo ad offerings from this year, this is the one I can stand to watch more than once (although I’m sure I’ll have had enough come December).

    Maybe its the total lack of product placement and the effort at telling a story, not a vapid “oh isn’t it lovely at Christmas time here’s some stuff”offering like other brands have done. That said I suppose #hare bought the clock from JL…

    I do agree with Colin and others; they’ve raised the bar for the Christmas advert again.

  • pam

    Lovely no horrible CGI a real animation. More please!

  • Matthew Ingram

    The animation process is ridiculous adds nothing at all to the finished film whatsoever – except probably thousands of pounds to its budget. It could have easily been achieved in camera and no one would have been wiser. Sheer foolishness.

    The Bear is the same ugly one from Disney’s “Brother Bear” and an Art Director with any visual knowledge would have sent it straight back to the drawing board.

  • I’m glad there was at least a passing reference to the film ‘Flatworld’ made in this write up…

    Flatworld was a special half hour film made for the BBC at TANDEM films back in 1997 and directed by the Oscar-winning animator director Daniel Greaves.
    For anyone who hasn’t seen it, I can STRONGLY recommend it …

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DE3qPuJLV4

  • Also, for fans of Flatworld, here’s a ‘making of’ documentary online here…
    http://vimeo.com/44100337

  • C. Steele

    If all of you who criticised were better you’d have got the job. It’s awesome, a really traditional feel, instead if all the easy computer generated crap that’s seen every day.

  • It’d be more amazing if it was more obvious that it was hand rendered, not a fan of CGI it doesn’t achieve the innocence and delicate feel that the illustrations should.

  • Julie G

    I totally love it!

  • David

    Hey, Matthew Ingram, can you post a link to your reel of live-action adverts , short films , or features that you’ve been the DP on ? I’d really be interested to see how you would “easily” accomplish the same look in camera without animation. Matthew, if you hate animation , well whatever , that’s your right , but to say that the animation process “adds nothing at all to the finished film whatsoever” is an absurd comment.

  • When I first watched the ad I just thought ‘Ok, that’s a nice animation’ but after watching ‘The Making Of’ video I definitely appreciate it more. The sad thing is that not everyone will watch the behind the scenes video and understand how much effort and craft went into the advert – it’s a shame!

  • VFX Pro

    Amazing – naturally it didn’t need to be done this way, as there was still clearly a lot of post cleanup but as already mentioned its great to see an old technique revived and then taken for a twist. Very clever and the natural lighting really helps it work. Goes to show what can be done with an endless budget. John Lewis clearly has too much money but at least they’re using it wisely.

  • Wow this is incredible. Being an amateur animator using paper cutouts, I am amazed in the fluidity of the characters, the lighting and the great use of depth of field. I can only imagine the patience this kind of project would require. Well done to all the people involved in the project!

  • James Johnson

    First, I loved the commercial. Simple and elegant.
    Second, the behind the scenes look proves that there are people that look at animation as a true art form and work in that sphere of dedication to their craft as few do.
    Third, to all that don’t like the commercial, your choice. To bad your inner child died sometime in your life and you can’t appreciate something that doesn’t have fart jokes, stale ideas and/or sub par graphics. They created a beautiful little world and I for one look forward to visiting it again and again.

  • Daphne

    A-M-A-Z-I-N-G I love stopmotion… :)

  • Beautiful. Visually it’s a spot produced with a soul and earthiness that one can feel when watching the final execution. The story is great too, simple message easily understood. No heavy handedness at all from a bold client. What a great team effort. I’m a 39 year old embittered CD and I have to admit I shed a tear!
    Matthew Ingram you are entitled to your opinion but i fear you may have lost your way.

  • pixelfibre

    think it’s wonderful.
    So reassuring to see such talent and creativity using techniques that are sadly unrepresented.
    Well done to the team who put this together…I imagine it was a fair old slog.

  • I didn’t realise that this was stop animation until the little red box appeared – absolutely beautiful, the guys working on this have done themselves proud.

  • Che

    Of course, the point was to get everyone watchig the “making of” video. the advert itself is pretty irrelevant. Now everyone will talk about that advert, and how it was made using stop motion animation, and how wonderful/lame it was to do so. and people will go to youtube and look it up…and everyone wins

  • Matthew Ingram

    “In camera” was the wrong expression clearly – I meant in post.

    Haters can check my reels at http://www.hollowearth.org. Not hiding behind any aliases here.

    :-)

  • Matthew Ingram

    The point is of course that the 2D animation was cleaned up to such a degree that no sense of the objects real quality remained – entirely counter-productive.

    People should check George Pal’s animation of actual objects (search on Youtube) to see the actual quality this approach can lend to a film.

  • why doesn’t Clapham Road Studios, where the Ad was filmed, get a mention in the credits?
    Proud Father!!

  • Phil

    It’s always fascinating to see behind the scenes of animation studios, but I’m left wondering why they went to such great lengths to shoot it live action when the animals just look like Disney circa 1940. I agree the process is completely lost in the end result.

    Still, have to respect the patience and attention to detail that’s involved.

  • Matthew

    The behind the scenes video is necessary to justify the amount spent on the advert. Can’t help but feel the ad would be lacking without it. Take nothing away from the design and execution, but it seems that the 7 million only seems well spent when you watch this. The buzz seems to be around how it was made rather than the ad itself. John Lewis advert 2011 was perfect.

  • Dave

    God, some people have to be so full of it, eh?

    Your lives must be PATHETIC – so full of the need to decry, to marginalise, to sneer . . . .

    I f**king LOVE this ad – for it’s sheer imagery and imagination, and the fact that the kids love it.

    Take your hate, and your so superior knowledge of the genre, and just go be miserable somewhere else, you trolls – you make me puke.

  • David

    To Matthew Ingram – re: your follow-up posts :

    “In camera” was the wrong expression clearly – I meant in post.” and “The point is of course that the 2D animation was cleaned up to such a degree that no sense of the objects real quality remained – entirely counter-productive.”

    I took your first comment to mean you didn’t think the hand drawn animation added anything to the piece and your reference to achieving the same look “in camera” was puzzling. I must agree that the stop-motion miniature sets and the hand drawn animation could have been more easily and efficiently composited in post instead of cutting out the drawings and reshooting them on the miniature sets . So if that’s what you originally intended by your comment “the animation process (i.e. cutting out the drawings and shooting them physically on the sets) is ridiculous , adds nothing at all to the finished film whatsoever” then I think you are correct. I’m not really sure why they added that extra step in the process when the same results could have been had by digitally combining the sets with the hand drawn images .

  • I think others in the comments have the same question. Why not just animate over the footage and comp in post? Although I find it simply amazing that the characters were stop motion, I would’ve never been able to tell the difference unless I saw the making of.

  • Rob Allen

    As an ex-John Lewis partner , I thought this was just magical , great work and great idea.
    Innovation at its best

  • Stephen Townsend

    Great ad.

    I think what some of us are just a bit confused by is why traditionally animate the characters (which is great) but then go and print them on to laser-cut balsa wood and further animate them through stop motion? It is simply an unnecessary step. The hand-drawn traditional animation is great on it’s own and could have simply been composited over the top of the scene like traditional hand-drawn animation is anyway. You’d lose nothing of the hand-drawn look and charm. It’s simply a wasted process printing/cutting and stop frame shooting the characters in to the scene as it adds nothing to final result as people have mentioned.

    Great work still and great result!

  • On the whole a thumbs up I think, with plenty to agree and disagree with in the comments. To answer a sentence in the article itself, the film ‘Flat World’ was done by Dan Grieves’ company Tandem Films – have a google for them.

    As an animator who started in the 2d world in London I confess to feeling a little sadness that they went to America to get this animated – I can think of plenty of brilliant talent here that could have done it – or am I suffering a case of the old sour grapes…. ? Hopefuly not, I’d like to think think it was partisanship for my colleagues and industry!

    //Si

  • kelvin

    As a digital artist, I agree that it could have been done easier. But thats the problem with modern life… Why age cheese for 18 months in a traditional environment controlled cellar when you could make it industrially in 6 with some artificial flavours, and no one will notice the difference. Perhaps that’s what this ridiculously pain staking ‘make work’ process is meant to convey about John lewis and their attitude because frankly I’d rather eat John lewis ham than tescos garbage ‘ham’ any day of the week. So let’s applaud the ridiculousness because these days nothing gets made with love anymore, its just dollars and cents. And Matthew, mate who wants to work with an arrogant old troll? I mean really? State your point but why be rude about all that hard work? Your showreel ain’t all that but perhaps that was the point? To get some of us to look at it? Well done!

  • Chris

    I think people are just complaining that the techniques used were not more obvious. You hardly get the feel of cutouts and live sets. Shame as that would have been a whole new area of interest in the ad – showing the artifice of it all. Instead it just looks like cell animation. Good work though.

  • Siobhan Tuson

    wow i love this i did some animation as a student and i always preferred 2D and stop-motion it always seemed to have more heart in it. I love the effect of the combo between the two types of animation. Nice one and really appreciate the behind the scenes

    LOVE THIS

  • Full marks to the production and design crew.
    Nil points for the vomit inducing, overly-sentimental and extremely corny script.
    Not a patch on the Snowman, which was far more original, engaging and memorable.

  • ‘It’s simply a wasted process printing/cutting and stop frame shooting the characters in to the scene as it adds nothing to final result as people have mentioned’ — Stephen Townsend

    As the person lucky enough to have been involved in the laser-cutting side here I’d ask you to check out how said cut-outs interact with the environment, particularly in the way the lighting interacts with the 2d cut outs in a 3d space and provides realistic shadowing. Also helps with the depth of field and other film-jargon that’s way beyond my ken.

    Besides, if the stated aim is to do as much as possibly in-film, then what other route could be taken?

  • david janes

    Are they paying the cleaners decent wages yet?

  • Ann

    Awesome ad…..hats off to the brains behind this….truly amazing….

  • sunil

    Great Work..

  • Daryl

    Absolutely brilliant! Best XMas Ad ever!!!!

  • Currently delivering a Computers in Art and Design BTEC unit at Writtle college, I have shared the making of your advert with my students currently creating their own characters . It was fun and inspiring for them to see where they can take their transferable skills including combining methods and mixed media to produce award winning creative outcomes into Industry.
    Thank You
    Jenny-wren Price

  • Stephen Townsend

    Hi Ewen

    Like I and many others have said, if there was any evidence of the laser cutouts looking any different to what is completely achievable digitally I would have been full of praise. Ironically, it looks as if they might have polished it in post production to such a degree that you lose all evidence of the hand craftsmanship that I actually really love. Again, like many others, I prefer the behind scenes film more than the actual film because the hand craft work is brilliant. It just isn’t evident in the final film which is a) a great loss and b) makes the process a wasted one sadly. Hope that clears up my point of view?

  • Jon

    Nice animation. Good craft. Shame that it the combination of the animation, the story, Lilly Allen and John Lewis turn it into something slightly sickofantic.

  • Gary

    The technique is amazing and it does have a very distinctive look and feel – especially the changes in focus such as when the owl spots the bear at the end.

    I find it depressing that on creative forum many of the commenters are bemoaning the use of creative techniques!

    The directors have realised their vision superbly; there certainly won’t be any other adverts looking like this on your TV screen over Xmas!

  • Spectacular. I think in the UK we are the most talented artists in the world of stop motion, and I say this as a fan of Wallace & Gromit. Many viewers have not recognized the stop motion, you have to look at the backgrounds, and the change of focus, with their realism that can not be replicated with computer graphics.

  • Jen

    Love it very well done
    I actually thought youd used the animals of farthing wood in the ad which took me back to my childhood days. As I collocted it when I was a child. Another brilliant advert from John Lewis :) cant believe home much goes in to the productions

  • Ken TM

    Up until 3 or 4 years ago I worked as an assistant director. By a quirk of fate I once found myself not only 1st AD but also lead animator on a John West ad.

    The ad employed pixilation (essentially stop-motion with actors), and in retrospect the effect was crudely executed , argely due to my own near-total inexperience in the field. However, this seemed to add to the charm of the piece, and thanks to our excellent director and animation director, we picked up an award or two.

    I only mention this because that was one of my very few meaningful experiences working on an animation. By comparison, this is an astounding piece of work, the craftsmanship all the more impressive because these are dying methods.

    I don’t understand how anyone could even start to pick holes in this, or suggest that they us CGI or comping…

  • It brought tears to my eyes.
    I thought it was CGI , watched it without
    leaky eyes this time the shadows, ighting
    and photography are amazing.
    Great job.

  • Claire Martin

    Loved the advert from the first time I watched, I did think that the characters were taken from Watership down, Brother Bear & Farthing wood Friends though. I appreciate it more now that I’ve seen the making.

    Still makes me tearful. Well done!

  • Daisy Day

    watching the ad i had no idea at all it was crafted so carefully. Its such a shame that such obviously detailed work was lost on an advert.
    was it worth the money, well i suppose its got everyone talking about it, so in a way its worked, but really after seeing how beautifully it was made it puts the ad in an even worse light.
    top marks for the animation, but thumbs down for an advertising campaign. It wont make me shop in John Lewis but then i didnt anyway! If adverts are supposed to make you feel a certain way, well it didnt make me feel christmassy, just sad and a bit depressed. And even more depressed when you find out how much it cost.

  • Kevin Bath

    @kelvin

    Absolutely! I agree that the craft and love inherent in taking the more traditional (and perhaps painstaking) production route, rather than comping digitally imbues a different quality.

    I think we forget sometimes that our interpretation and emotional response to something presented visually can be affected by subtleties that are inherently difficult to analyse on a conscious level.

    And, even if missed by some in it’s context as a small-screen advert, two thumbs up to the sheer craft of it all.

  • Sam Samkin

    I really loved this advert when I first saw it. It reminded me of something like Rupert and the Frog Song, a short animated film from the 80s with Rupert the Bear. I actually thought the same fella who made that film also did this. It’s very similar to that. I love this type of animation. Great stuff.

  • Scott

    I found this page while looking, as a member of the public, to find out why such a short piece should cost £7M to make. What I can’t figure out from all your comments is whether, in the final piece, it was worth it, or whether the same result could have been achieved much more cheaply? Some people seem to be saying it doesn’t matter whether it could have been done more cheaply, as the craftsmanship was worth it, even if it made no difference to the result. That’s an interesting question, but as most of the public won’t know how it was made, I can’t see the added value. £7M is a huge sum of money. If the same ad could have been produced for a lot less, then I think we have to question the corporate ethics of John Lewis’s decision. On the other hand, if the added quality of the craftsmanship gives subtle benefits to the impact of the piece, then you could argue they have done with their advert what they aim to do with their products.

  • Carl Grainger

    Agree 2013 is not a classic. I’m not sure about the singer/song combo but the animation is the high point. However it’s not just about the video, John Lewis are very clever and I love the idea behind the John Lewis rework 2013 competition. The favorite entry for 2013 has to be http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGsaeqT2FHw – great work from just a few of the many talented aspiring young people in the UK :)

  • Scott

    Turns out it actually cost £1M to make, not £7M. The reported £7M spend includes airtime and other media.

  • Bart

    ………………..and I thought the scenes were from an actual movie!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I wonder what their plan is for 2014! This was a great creative marketing campaign. We can only wish!

  • Top marketing campaign from John Lewis. Deffo looking forward to 2014 James, indeed!

  • My Son loves this advert and so do I, a real credit to the animation industry