25 days of Ausmas: Ant White, CHE Proximity on John Lewis' A Tribute to Givers

Every day an advertising creative from Australia and New Zealand will offer their own favourite Christmas campaign from over the years as we celebrate the best work from the festive period the world over and hear their views on what is best in class.

Every agency asks this question when writing their next big, exciting Christmas ad. And that’s what Christmas ads have become. An industry desperately trying to compete with each other to claim bragging rights of ‘who won Christmas.’ Marketing for marketers.

To see how things got so crazy, it’s worth going back to where it started. For me, that’s 2010. Year two into Adam & Eve’s tenure on the John Lewis account you get the feeling this was their first real war cry having taken it over from Lowe London in 2008.

Taking a classic song, overlaying it with an up-and-coming female artist and slowing it down to produce the perfect emotional soundtrack. ‘A Tribute to givers’ featured Ellie Goulding singing Elton John’s Your Song. The spot was made for consumers, to sell the feeling of giving and going that extra mile at Christmas. A beautiful, insightful, emotional insight. Perfectly executed. No over the top hyperbole. An ad for everyone, not the industry. Showing John Lewis as the ultimate Christmas enabler, promoting giving as a lifestyle and priming us all for the ad that would make the world cry, ‘The Long Wait’.

And like every subsequent advert it has created since, it permeated into culture sending Ellie Goulding's cover version into the music charts at number two and started to make the industry sit up and take notice.

John Lewis is in a league of its own when it comes to Christmas and its winning formula has worked consistently for the last nine years. Maybe the rest of us should focus on trying to set our own trends. Show up where customers need us or even least expect us. Try Easter even. But just own another moment. Because the next John Lewis will probably be from John Lewis.

Ant White, executive creative director, CHE Proximity

Check out the latest holiday ads from Australia and New Zealand here, and keep an eye on The Drum's ongoing Christmas coverage.

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