Christmas Advertising Twitter

Twitter pays tribute to the real John Lewis in Christmas ad pastiche


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

November 19, 2018 | 4 min read

Every year in the run up to Christmas, thousands of people on Twitter mistake John Lewis, the man, for John Lewis, the retailer. Now Twitter UK has decided to mark the annual mass misunderstanding with a seasonal spot to rival the department store's big budget creative.

The social network has put Lewis, the man, front and centre of its own Christmas ad

The social network has put Lewis, the man, front and centre of its own Christmas ad. Releasing a film that sees Lewis painstakingly co-ordinate responses to all the consumer demands mistakenly bestowed upon him that are actually intended for @jlandpartners.

Each festive season without fail, the buzz generated around the British retailer's Christmas ad (which features Elton John this year) causes a headache for the real Lewis – a US-based science lecturer at Virginia Tech University and owner of the hallowed @JohnLewis handle on Twitter since 2007.

Bombarded with tweets intended for the retailer, Lewis takes the error in his stride and often becomes an unofficial ambassador for the retailer, especially at Christmas when consumers think they are sending it mundane customer service questions. Having clocked up some 40,000 followers Lewis has become famous for his witty responses to customer requests, all this despite the volume of mentions breaching 50,000 in 2018.

The work from The Romans, sister agency of creative shop Mother, launches with the hashtag “#NotARetailStore. It references previous John Lewis Christmas creative with tiny sculptures of previous props including the telescope and a miniature moon ornament from Man on the Moon, a replica of Monty the Penguin and a Buster the Boxer ornament.

The spot from Twitter comes days after John Lewis launched its 2018 spot 'The Boy and the Piano', which was followed by brand parodies and a not-so-subtle nod from partner Waitrose, Twitter UK has honed in on the trend for with a homage of its own.

Joe Mackay-Sinclair, founder and creative director of The Romans said: “The perennial story of @JohnLewis patiently replying to tweets is one that has delighted the UK for years and truly captures the spirit of Christmas. We’re very pleased to have been able to finally let John be the star of his own campaign.”

Lewis said: “I think it’s hilarious that people mistake me for the UK store and I do my best to direct them to the right place. I see a massive spike in Tweets at this time of year and I always watch the John Lewis advert, especially as it becomes a huge part of my Twitter conversation.

"I find it absolutely fascinating that Twitter UK has chosen me to star in their Christmas film. Hopefully, people will be kind about my acting skills, I am no Elton John but who knows maybe I’ll get Tweets about my own film this year.”

Vote for the work below in The Drum's Creative Works.

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