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By Amy Houston, Senior Reporter

November 9, 2023 | 5 min read

Saatchi & Saatchi’s first festive ad for the retailer is finally here and celebrates the advent of new traditions.

The hotly anticipated first John Lewis Christmas ad from Saatchi & Saatchi is finally here. After months of speculation, the brand has revealed its new approach to festive marketing that centers around traditions.

In ‘Snapper, the Perfect Tree,’ which features the strapline ‘Let Your Traditions Grow,’ the protagonist is a young boy who lovingly nurtures a plant from seed in the belief he is cultivating an amazing Christmas tree.

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To his surprise, the fast-growing plant turns out to be a Venus flytrap with a playful personality. ‘Snapper,’ as he calls it, wants to join in all the fun of Christmas nevertheless, but sadly grows too big for the living room and is cast out into the cold

Thankfully, Snapper is welcomed back into the home, giving out presents with such exuberance that the family finds new joy in gathering around their unconventional Christmas tree.

“We are a nation that loves the traditions of Christmas, from classic traditions like pantos and putting up the tree to evolving new ones like crafting our own presents and Zoom get-togethers,” says Charlotte Lock, customer director at John Lewis.

“Many of us have our own unique festive traditions and that makes them even more special. This film celebrates themes of family and evolving traditions and shows that a ‘perfect’ Christmas is finding joy together with loved ones, whatever your traditions”

Music for the ad is provided by the legendary tenor Andrea Bocelli, who performs a song called Festa, which was written and produced by Le Feste Antonacci specifically for the John Lewis advert.

Franki Goodwin, chief creative officer at Saatchi & Saatchi, adds: “Taking on the John Lewis Christmas ad – no pressure, right? It’s been quite the six months. But honestly, having built a fully integrated campaign and worked with the icons that are Megaforce and Bocelli to make a film that retains what is quintessential about a John Lewis Christmas ad but evolves it into something perhaps a bit unexpected, wilder and funnier. I really do appreciate that pressure is a privilege – and making this has been a huge one.”

In a first for John Lewis and Kew Gardens, the Snapper character will be part of the iconic Christmas at Kew light trail. Shoppers will also be able to purchase the toy from the retailer.

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“We hope the nation falls in love with little Snapper, the wannabe Christmas tree, as much as we have,” says marketing director Rosie Hanley.

“He embodies what’s magical about Christmas – bringing loved ones together, holding on to what we all love about Christmas traditions and embracing new ones.”

The campaign will come to life across channels including audio, video, cinema, social and YouTube. There are also shoppable formats through YouTube, C4 and Google, with all products featured in the ad for sale through the John Lewis website, app and shops.

Want to know more? Read our full interview with Saatchi & Saatchi and John Lewis on its strategy for this year’s Christmas ad and why it was like taking the reins of a movie franchise for the creative agency.

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