John Lewis Christmas Advert 2020: What is it about and who sings this year’s song?

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Sarah Young
·6 min read
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Watch: John Lewis Christmas advert ‘celebrates kindness’ of UK during pandemic

Deck the halls with boughs of holly because the wait is finally over. That's right, John Lewis has officially released its annual Christmas advert.

This year, many people’s plans for the festive period remain uncertain due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

But, while some things we love about Christmas might look different this time round, there are still many traditions making a return for 2020, including the release of the department store’s much-anticipated festive campaign.

The John Lewis advert is one aspect of the holidays that can always be relied on to spread some cheer, so much so that it has become a hallmark of the festive season, signifying that Christmas time is upon us.

And in true John Lewis-style, 2020’s rendition is just as heart-warming as you might expect.

So, what is this year’s advert all about and who sings the song featured on it? Here's everything you need to know.

What is this year’s advert about?

The John Lewis 2020 Christmas advert, titled “Give a Little Love”, is inspired by the sense of community spirit shown by the British public during the coronavirus pandemic.

Unlike previous years, when the advert has focused on a single protagonist, this one is filled with a number of different characters who each perform touching acts of kindness.

The two-minute film begins with a boy looking up at a football which has become stuck in a tree. In a bid to help, a young girl opens her umbrella, which turns into an enormous red heart that she throws at the tree, nudging the football loose. The heart emblem is then carried through a series of animated scenes, featuring an array of characters and animals depicted in different forms of moving art, such as claymation, CGI and cinematography.

John Lewis
John Lewis

For example, we see a snowman offer up his head as a spare wheel to a couple trying to get home for Christmas, when the ball of snow turns into a heart-shape, as well as a family who drop off a bag of Waitrose food outside someone’s front door, after which the bag also transforms into a heart.

“The scenes are connected to create a long chain of giving, as each film passes the campaign’s heart emblem on to the next part of the film,” explains a statement released by John Lewis and Partners.

“The storyline illustrates how acts of kindness, large and small, can multiply and positively impact the world in which we live as we pass them on to others.”

There are nine different scenes in total created by eight artists, including Chris Hopewell, who has made music videos for Radiohead, and French animator Sylvain Chomet.

Why is this year’s advert different to others?

The advert is just one element of a major joint campaign by John Lewis and Waitrose.

While the majority of the retailer’s past adverts have been created to simply spread a little festive cheer, this year’s campaign hopes to make a real difference to some of those hit hardest during 2020.

The companies have selected two charities, FareShare, which helps those facing food poverty and boasts England footballer Marcus Rashford as its ambassador, and Home-Start, which supports parents in need, with the intention of raising £4 million for both. Hence why this year’s advert centres on the spirit of giving to others.

John Lewis
John Lewis

As well as fundraising, Waitrose and John Lewis will offer practical support to the charities. Its expert partners will give nutrition and nursery advice to Home-Start community groups and both retailers will donate surplus stock direct to families in need.

While this is the most explicit charitable partnership John Lewis has undertaken as part of its Christmas campaign, it’s not the first.

The company’s 2015 “Man on the Moon” advert raised funds for Age UK, while 2017’s “Moz the Monster” offering was created in partnership with children’s charity Barnardo’s.

How can I support the charities?

There are a number of ways you can help support FareShare and Home-Start through the new Christmas campaign.

Both retailers are giving customers the opportunity to donate to one of the charities every time they swipe their John Lewis or Waitrose cards while shopping.

A range of ‘Give a Little Love’ merchandise, including a heart shaped umbrella (£25) like the one shown in the advert, is also available to buy on the Waitrose and John Lewis websites and in stores, with all profits from the sale of the products going towards the appeal.

Other products in the range include a candle tin (£8), a mug (£7), pyjamas (£15), tote bags (£5) and T-shirts (£8-£15).

You can also make donations online at John Lewis (here) and Waitrose (here).

If you are not in the position to make a financial contribution, the companies will be promoting volunteer projects across their stores for the duration of the Christmas campaign, in the hope it will encourage shoppers to “give a little love” this festive season.

Who sings the song on this year’s advert?

In another step away from its traditional approach, for the first time a new song has been commissioned for the Christmas campaign.

John Lewis
John Lewis

Written and recorded by British soul singer, Celeste, the song is also called “A Little Love” and every time it is downloaded a 10p donation will be made to the campaign.

Commenting on her song Celeste said; “I felt honoured to be asked to take part. I wanted to create something that felt classic but still true to who I am as a writer and performer.”

Last year, Celeste won a Brit Award and in January this year she was crowned BBC Music’s Sound of 2020.

In 2019, Dan Smith from pop band Bastille recorded a version of REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling” for the Edgar the dragon advert, and before that, Elton John performed his classic “Your Song” for the 2018 offering.

Other artists featured in past adverts include rock band Elbow, who covered The Beatles' “Golden Slumbers” in 2017 for the Moz the Monster release.

This came after the Vaults' version of Randy Crawford's “One Day I'll Fly Away” for the 2016 Buster the Boxer advert.

When will the advert show on TV?

The advert – which went live across the John Lewis and Waitrose social media channels at 7am on 13 November – will first be broadcast on TV the same day, during The Voice on ITV.

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