John Lewis Christmas Advert 2011

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2011


John Lewis is a chain of upmarket department stores operating throughout Great Britain. The first John Lewis store was opened in 1864 in Oxford Street, London.

In recent years there is a tradition to see and talk about the new advert.


1. Read about the song used in the ad and the lyrics to the song and answer the questions below.


A big chunk of that £5 million must have gone to The Smiths, who allowed a cover of their song ‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want’ to be used in the ad.

The John Lewis version, by Slow Moving Millie, is one of many in the fragile, breathy style currently in vogue among advertisers.


The Smiths – “Please, please, please, let me get what I want, this time”.


Good times for a change

See, the luck I’ve had

Can make a good man

Turn bad


So please please please

Let me, let me, let me

Let me get what I want

This time


Haven’t had a dream in a long time

See, the life I’ve had

Can make a good man bad


So for once in my life

Let me get what I want

Lord knows, it would be the first time

Lord knows, it would be the first time


Questions: (Understanding the lyrics of the song)

  1. What impression do you get from the lyrics?
  2. Is the writer happy or sad?
  3. What do you think the writer wants?
  4. What is a cover version?
  5. Why are fragile, acoustic, cover versions of famous songs in vogue among advertisers?


2. Listen to the song from the ad (without video) and answer the questions:

  1. How could you describe the voice of the singer?
  2. Is this appropriate for a Christmas ad?
  3. Do you have any ideas what the story in the ad will show?

3.Read the first part of the new report from the BBC.

BBC News:

THE ADVERT: John Lewis, The Long Wait

THE BRIEF: To press home the real meaning of Christmas

THE LAUNCH: John Lewis has been quick off the blocks with its blockbuster £6m Christmas ad. Arriving with much marketing fanfare and a telegenic seven-year-old, much of Middle England has been reduced to tears by a simple feel-good message.


4. Please watch the ad from John Lewis

5. Read the second part of the BBC news report.


If your heart hasn’t been melted by The Long Wait then it is made of stone, and Scrooge-like you deserve to be visited by every ghost.

The child in question is seven-year-old Lewis McGowan, who in the ad spends 10 days counting off the hours, minutes and seconds until Christmas. Not so he can have in a crazy present-opening festival, but so that he can experience the joy of giving his parents a special gift of his own.

See, it’s better to give than to receive – that’s the twist, and it took a child to point that out. This is John Lewis focusing on core family values, in these economic belt-tightening times. And it has captured the public mood.

The ad first launched on Twitter and YouTube, allowing time to generate a buzz before it landed in the nation’s front rooms during ITV’s The X Factor two weeks ago.

In fact, this is less of an ad, more of a mini-film continuing a theme John Lewis started a few years ago.

It arrived with much hype – almost every major newspaper has devoted column inches to the launch.

6. Questions:

  1. What the message in the ad?
  2. What is a breakdown?
  3. What is a buzz, what is hype ?
  4. Who is Scrooge?
  5. Do you remember “counting odd” the hours before Christmas Day arrived?
  6. What is a twist in a story and where is the twist in this ad?
  7. Are people spending more or less in 2011 and which phrase is used to describe it?

7. Discussion:

  1. Does this child exist?
  2. What do you think about the marketing strategy?
  3. What does “telegenic” mean?
  4. Where and what is “middle England”?
  5. Do you agree that it’s better to give than to receive ?
  6. Do you like ad’s that follow a theme?
  7. What do you think of the slogan?


About Author

Justin Donlon

English Teacher & Content Developer Over 15 years of experience in engaging educational content

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