Biggest tear-jerker yet? John Lewis 2022 Christmas advert is making everyone cry

John Lewis has used its 90-second Christmas ad to raise awareness of children in care

Published

John Lewis has used its Christmas ad to raise awareness of children in care with the story of a middle-aged man learning to skateboard before welcoming a young teenager into the family home.

The 90-second ad, entitled The Beginner and set to a cover of Blink-182’s All The Small Things by US artist Mike Geier, shows the man as he struggles painfully to master skateboarding in the build-up to Christmas.

Viewers are left questioning the motive behind his perseverance until the final scene, which shows a social worker arriving at his door with young teenager Ellie, who has arrived at her new foster home carrying her skateboard.

John Lewis said it understood that not all foster carers had the benefit of knowing who they would be looking after in advance and that its broader campaign also featured “authentic voices of carers” and “young people with different experiences of a complex care system”.

The 90-second ad is entitled The Beginner
The 90-second ad is entitled The Beginner

But it said that “in a challenging year, we felt it was important to demonstrate that it’s what we do that matters most”, adding it was proud to use its Christmas ad to “generate conversation and action around an often overlooked issue”.

The ad was created with agency adam&eveDDB, with input from partner charities Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland.

John Lewis declined to reveal a budget.

It is almost entirely devoid of product placement except for two brief glimpses of the retailer’s Lewis Bear toy.

Customers can buy products including the £30 bear, £19 Lewis Bear pyjamas, a £5 Lewis Bear tote bag and a Rampage Skateboard for £34.99, with 25% of the sales going to the two affiliated charities.

John Lewis has used its Christmas ad to raise awareness of children in care
John Lewis has used its Christmas ad to raise awareness of children in care

A Giving Tree in stores will invite customers to donate to the charities by taking a tag with a value of between £5 and £50 and scanning it with their shop.

Alongside its longer-term work providing apprenticeship opportunities within the John Lewis Partnership for people leaving care, the retailer said it would make donations of Christmas decorations, food and gifts.

Children in care and their caregivers will be invited to Santa’s Grotto experiences in John Lewis stores and the retailer will also supply communal spaces of selected residential facilities run by Action for Children with electronics, furnishings and decorations.

John Lewis customer director Claire Pointon said: “We are fortunate to have a truly unique platform in our Christmas ad, which sparks a national conversation.

“At John Lewis we care deeply about families and recognise that they come in many different forms. For our biggest moment of the year, we decided to focus on one kind of family that is often overlooked.

“We are also very aware that not all care experience outcomes are as positive as Ellie’s. The home Ellie enters is filled with kindness and the foster father’s actions demonstrate that, ultimately, it’s what you do that matters most.”

Charlotte Lock, pan-partnership customer director, added: “Turbulent times worsen social inequalities and Christmas is a time when this can be most keenly felt.

“Our Christmas campaign is an important step in our long-term plans to become the employer of choice for young people leaving the care system and to provide lasting change and hope for children like Ellie.”

Imran Hussain, director of policy and campaigns at Action for Children, said: “We are delighted to be working with the John Lewis Partnership on its iconic Christmas advert and applaud the company for its work and long-term commitment to shining a light on the issues facing some of the most vulnerable children in the country.

“We believe this partnership will enable us to support and empower more children and young people as they make the transition from care into the adult world.”