John Lewis and Waitrose’s Christmas ad shows a little kindness goes a long way

Directed by Oscar Hudson, the charming mixed media spot and an accompanying fundraising film encourage the public to ‘Give a Little Love’ during what is set to be a festive season like no other

While we’ve become all too familiar with the hallowed John Lewis Christmas ad’s mission to tug at our heartstrings, for all the obvious reasons no one has quite known what to expect from the retailer’s festive campaign this year.

Following on from its first joint campaign with Waitrose last year, which told the story of an excitable dragon called Edgar, the retailers have teamed up again on Give a Little Love, a festive fundraising campaign inspired by the kindness of the British public during the pandemic.

Created by adam&eveDDB and directed by CR favourite Oscar Hudson, the two-minute campaign film celebrates the many different forms of moving art – from animation and claymation to CGI and cinematography.

Designed as an act of solidarity with the creative industries during a particularly turbulent year, the film is made up of nine vignettes by eight different artists, including puppet maker and animator duo Andy Gent and Anthony Farquhar Smith, stop-motion wizard Chris Hopewell, and animator Anna Mantzaris.

French directors collective MegaComputeur, animator Sylvain Chomet, Latvian illustrator Anete Melece and animation studio Shotopop have also contributed to the spot, and all of its scenes are connected to create a long chain of giving as each film passes the campaign’s heart emblem on to the next part.

In a move away from the traditional John Lewis schmaltzy cover track, a new song has been commissioned by BBC Music’s Sound of 2020 winner Celeste, titled A Little Love.

The film’s message ties in with the wider work being carried out by John Lewis and Waitrose amid the pandemic, as they attempt to raise £4 million for charities FareShare, which helps those facing food poverty, and Home-Start, which works with parents who need support.

John Lewis and Waitrose staff will also donate £1 million to charities who support families in their local communities, and customer donations up to the value of £2 million will be matched by a further donation from the John Lewis Partnership.

To promote the retailers’ campaign work this year, an additional 30-second charity ad has also been created by adam&eveDDB and directed by Oscar Hudson. The spot features the work of four post-graduate students from Kingston University: Amelia Fowler, Marta Pinto, Leksey Lee and Bella McEvoy.

It’s a fitting approach in a year that takes things back to the core message of the much-loved moment in the festive calendar, and is really what Christmas should always be about: kindness.

Agency: adam&eveDDB
Chief Creative Officer: Richard Brim
Creative Directors: Matt Gay & Feargal Ballance
Production company: Pulse Films
Director: Oscar Hudson
Music: Celeste