The John Lewis Effect: Christmas TV Adverts 2018

The TV Christmas adverts for 2018 are coming thick and fast! Yet again, more and more brands are releasing their festive offerings in a bid to become the most talked about ad of the season.

As crusaders of the now ‘customary’ Christmas TV campaign, the annual John Lewis advert is of course the most eagerly awaited (although I would personally argue that the airing of Coca-Cola’s ‘holidays are coming’ advert is the key marker that Christmas is well and truly on the horizon!)

However, as more and more brands release their own adverts every year, there are a number of companies that the public have grown to expect great things from.

Despite the plethora of adverts that have now graced our TV screens, there is no doubt that many of them have looked to the ‘John Lewis effect’ for inspiration and it’s hard not to draw comparisons between the emotive narrative, childhood nostalgia and meaningful messaging of the John Lewis adverts.

John Lewis is seen to have paved the way in creating affective adverts that raise a smile, draw a tear and melt the heart. It’s not difficult to see why many other brands have followed in their footsteps.

So, who have the big players been this year so far – and are any refocusing the meaning behind their annual efforts? Or still seeking success by shadowing the John Lewis effect?

In light of the release of the greatly anticipated John Lewis Christmas advert for 2018, we’ve taken a look at their latest offering, as well as some of our favourites from other brands released this year so far.


Cadbury’s have drawn on the festive tradition of secret Santa gifting. The advert is fairly simple and uses a slightly comedic Santa faced mask throughout, showing various people secretly sending chocolate gifts to loved ones, friends and colleagues.

As many of us had been involved in the Christmas ritual, it’s relatable, sweet (in more ways than one) and heartfelt. This makes the audience want to hug those close to them, snuggle on the sofa and reach for the chocolate.


Many have drawn direct comparisons between Sainsbury’s 2018 Christmas advert and John Lewis’ most recent advert as both revolve around a school play of epic proportions. Despite the undeniable similarities, it’s hard not to smile at Sainsbury’s comedic, heartfelt offering (and child dressed as a giant plug).

The literal star of the show is a little girl who starts off very shy until she spots her mum in the audience and bursts into song. The strap line follows “we give all we’ve got for the ones we love”. Bravo Sainsbury’s on this great little number (especially the inspired costumes)!


Iceland’s Christmas ad has already gained an enormous amount of exposure due to it being banned by the Clearcast. It is highly emotive, but it stands out for its political messaging. The animated advert highlights the seriousness of the palm oil industry and mass deforestation of wildlife; specifically orangutangs. It’s not littered with tinsel, Christmas trees and snow, but it is emotive and unexpected for the frozen food store.


Heathrow’s advert features their classic Heathrow teddy bears. Using the hashtag #HeathrowBears, the advert tells the story of grandparents who live in Florida and are desperately trying to celebrate a classic wintry Christmas in the sunshine state.

After calling family in the UK, they decide to hop on a flight home to celebrate family for Christmas instead. As the camera pans across the outside of the house, the bear family turn into a human family. The perfect cuddly, fluffy, huggable sentiment for Christmas time.


We’re genuinely concerned that carrots could be in short supply this Christmas after seeing McDonald’s ad. A very realistic looking Santa is doing his Christmas Eve delivery shift with some very sad and tired looking reindeers. Mince pies have been left Mr. Clause, but the reindeer seem to have been forgotten as no carrots have been left.

In a desperate attempt to cheer up his noble steeds, Santa spots the golden arches in the distance and heads in to buy some carrot sticks (or rather “reindeer treats”). Very clever, Ronald, very clever.

John Lewis/Waitrose & Partners

And last, but not least, a very #EltonJohnLewis Christmas (we’re sure the person who made the initial connection of the two is still feeling pretty pleased with themselves). There have been mixed reviews following it’s anticipated release, but we’re mostly fans of it here. The cleverly edited ad reminisces through Elton John’s musical history to where he is given his first piano as child. The tagline is “some gifts are more than just a gift”, providing us with that warm, sentimental notion that we know and love from John Lewis.

Perhaps going one better than this, however, is the Waitrose retort which mocks the advert with people so keen to eat that they fast forward through the John Lewis advert. This is a new slant from John Lewis & Partners and we like it!


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    sixteen − sixteen =