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The highly-anticipated John Lewis 2021 Christmas advert has finally dropped — and it celebrates the magical moments of Christmas experienced for the first time.
Titled 'Unexpected Guest', the two-minute advert is a heartwarming story of friendship when you least expect it. Launching a week earlier than usual, it comes as searches for Christmas products on the department store's websites started earlier than ever.
It follows the story of a 14-year-old boy called Nathan and space traveller Skye, who end up meeting after her space ship from another galaxy crashes near his home. A beautiful tale of friendship, we see Nathan introduce Skye to famous festive traditions and help her to truly celebrate her first Christmas.
From decorating the tree with fairy lights to giving Skye her first mince piece (and teaching her not to eat the foil), it's through these shared moments that we see the real magic of Christmas. As their friendship grows, we see them watching festive films together and playing in the snow.
Towards the end of the ad, it's time for Skye to fix her ship and return to her home planet. Bittersweet and heartwarming, Nathan gifts her his Christmas jumper — the one he wore when they first met. They might be parting ways, but their friendship will live on forever.
"There is nothing more magical than discovering the joy of Christmas for the first time and enjoying your favourite festive moments with loved ones," Claire Pointon, Director of Customer, says.
"After the last 18 months, we wanted our advert to really celebrate this as we look forward to a brighter future. We know our customers are excited for this festive season more than ever, as they reconnect with family and friends. Through the story of Skye and Nathan we celebrate friendship and are reminded of the joy of experiencing Christmas for the first time."
This year's soundtrack to the advert is Together in Electric Dreams, which has been performed by 20-year-old London-based singer Lola Young and was originally released by Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder in 1984.
A recap of 2020's John Lewis Christmas advert
Titled 'Give a Little Love', the two-minute heartwarming John Lewis Christmas ad 2020 was released to make a lasting difference to some of those hit hardest during 2020.
It follows the story of various kind acts — both small and large — positively impacting the world in which we live in. The clip begins following two children playing in snow who get their football stuck in the tree above. After wondering what to do, the young girl decides to throw her umbrella up to see if it will work. As she does, it opens up into a red heart and knocks the ball down.
We then see different moments of kindness throughout the clip, switching from animation to real-life footage. Wonderfully, each scene is created to connect a long chain of giving, with each act of kindness leading to another. Some beautiful moments include the young boy saving a melting snowman, the snowman helping a man who has a flat tyre, someone delivering shopping to a neighbour and a pigeon giving a hat to a hedgehog.
James Bailey, Executive Director of Waitrose, said: "The pandemic has highlighted the growing inequalities across the country, with those who are already most vulnerable disproportionately impacted. Through our partnerships with FareShare and HomeStart we’re aiming to make a big difference to the lives of 100,000 families in the UK.
"Each year festive adverts come and go - and some are remembered more vividly than others. But our advertising this year will leave a lasting legacy - and in that way, we hope it won't just be for Christmas."
A recap of 2019's John Lewis Christmas advert
The John Lewis Christmas advert for 2019, entitled Excitable Edgar, told the story of an over-enthusiastic and slightly confused little dragon who can't quite control his fiery breath.
Edgar is best friends with a little girl called Ava, who wants nothing more than for her dragon companion to be able to join in with festive games. But, when Edgar gets over excited when he sees children in the local village making snow men and ice-skating, he bumbles in to join them before realising his hot breath will melt the snow, leaving both the snow man and the ice rink in puddles.
To the sound of Can’t fight this feeling, re-recorded by the lead singer of Bastille Dan Smith, events climax with Edgar accidentally setting the village Christmas tree on fire, even though he had tied a scarf around his nose to stop him breathing. He was so excited, though, that the flames came out of his ears instead. The villagers were not impressed.
Edgar ends up shutting himself away so he can't spoil Christmas any more than he believes he already has, while Ava waits outside his front door. But finally, Ava, who works in the local bakery, comes up with a genius use for Edgar's fire – lighting the Christmas pudding – and in doing so he brings the community together again.
A recap of 2018's John Lewis Christmas advert
In 2018, the John Lewis and Partners' Christmas advert featured Elton John as the star of the department store's iconic festive campaign.
The Boy & The Piano told the story of Elton's love of music – spurred by a special Christmas gift of a piano from his grandmother as a child.
The ad charted all the major musical moments in Elton's life in backwards chronological order: from putting on the incredible show he's known for today, to flying to his sell-out US tour and recording and performing his first hit, Your Song, which forms the soundtrack throughout.
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