Every Christmas the UK collectively waits with bated breath for the John Lewis spot and subsequently races to Twitter to analyse, deconstruct and answer the question, “But was it better than last year’s?”
A significant proportion of these ad-related tweets (as well as others about washing machine warrantees and store opening hours) are erroneously aimed at @JohnLewis, a technology lecturer in Virginia and definitely not a retail store. Nevertheless, every year, John Lewis (the man) patiently and humorously responds to the tweets he receives intended for his retailer namesake, an act which has over the years attracted a fair bit of media attention along the lines of, what a stand-up guy this John Lewis guy is.
So we thought, what if for once John Lewis (still the man) got to star in his own ad? And in doing so not only reward a cool guy who does a cool thing every year, but also remind the UK that Twitter is a place where anyone can join a conversation and share in some seasonal humour.
And so, we slid into John’s DMs, flew to Virginia and shot the most meta ad of the year: an ad about John Lewis, parodying John Lewis ads, starring a guy called John Lewis, designed to jump on the conversation already going on in the UK about the other John Lewis ad.
The result: millions of views and encyclopedic volumes of media coverage across the UK and beyond, with every national newspaper and broadcaster loving John’s unique story and many industry commentators describing it as one of the ads of the year. Thankfully, it organically trended on Twitter too – it would have been a bit embarrassing if it hadn’t – and, for the first time ever, people were able to legitimately tweet their congratulations to @JohnLewis about his actual new ad.