John Lewis & Partners launches 2018 Christmas advertising campaign, The Boy & The Piano

Thursday 15 November 2018

Today at 8.00am, John Lewis & Partners will launch its 2018 Christmas advertising campaign, The Boy & The Piano.

This Christmas, the ad tells how one gift in particular inspired and influenced the course of a little boy's life. That little boy just happens to be Elton John. The story begins in present day and works backwards chronologically through Elton's life, right until the moment he received the special gift of his grandmother's piano that changed his life forever because some gifts are more than just a gift.

With the iconic 'Your Song' as the soundtrack, John Lewis and Waitrose Partners (employees) will have the opportunity to share the two minute 20 second advert first at 6am, before being launched on the company’s social media channels, and in shops at 8.00am. The ad will first air on TV this evening at 9.15pm on ITV, during Dark Heart. ITV viewers may have also noticed that yesterday, as a hint towards the launch of the advert today, the soundtracks to some of the channels most iconic shows, including Coronation Street and This Morning, were given a little twist when they were played solely in piano notes.

Craig Inglis, Partner and Customer Director, John Lewis & Partners said: 'Think back to all of the Christmases that you have enjoyed over the years - I’m sure there is one very special gift that stands out above all others. That's the magical feeling we wanted to bring to life this year. The ad tells the story of why Elton's piano was more than just a gift and we hope to remind customers of that special moment when they've given a gift at Christmas time that they know will be treasured forever.

Elton John said: 'The John Lewis Christmas campaign has so many warm memories for me and my family. It's been a lovely opportunity for me to reflect on my life in music and the incredible journey I have been on, and how first playing my Grandmother's piano marks the moment when music came into my life. The ad is absolutely fantastic and I've truly loved every minute of being a part of it.'

The speculation in recent months around the costs associated with this year's ad is wildly inaccurate and our total spend is similar to previous years. The Christmas TV ad is an important investment for John Lewis and is a crucial part of our overall marketing campaign, driving sales throughout the key Christmas trading period. To date it has proven to be one of the most effective marketing campaigns in the industry, delivering an excellent return on investment.

When first approached to be part of this year's John Lewis Christmas ad, Elton requested that a portion of his fee was to be donated to the Elton John Charitable Trust.

In John Lewis's most experiential Christmas campaign to date, customers shopping on Oxford Street are invited to step into the set of the ad and experience if for themselves. John Lewis's flagship shop is hosting a 2,000 sq ft experiential space on the 3rd floor where customers can explore the dressing room, recording studio and living room sets from the ad, and interact with props, listen to recordings from Elton John's 17-11-70 album and have photos taken at the piano.The set is just one of a range of ad experiences in the shop that will have customers stepping into Christmas on every floor. The shop, along with 14 further shops across the UK, will also have a Yamaha piano for customers to play.

In a first for the UK high street, customers will also be able to enjoy a musical light show, being projected from the shop's Oxford Street windows every 30 minutes from 4pm. Performing Elton John's Christmas classic, 'Step Into Christmas', the shop's window displays will fill Britain's busiest shopping street with music and display a one minute light show to entertain passers by.

Notes to editors

The cast:

●       Young Elton - Freddie Henderson

●       Recital boy Elton - Hudson Trindall

●       Mum - Katie Bonna

●       Gran - Deborah Baxter

●       Teenage Elton - Brandon Stein

●       70’s Elton - Oliver Marshall

●       80/90’s Elton - Simon Burbage

●       Present day Elton - Elton John

Scenes from the ad:

The story of the ad is based on key moments throughout Elton John’s life:

●       1950s – playing his grandmother’s piano

●       1960s – performing in a school recital

●       1960s – performing in the Northwood Hills pub in Pinner

●       1970s – recording Your Song at Trident Studio, London

●       1970s – performing Your Song on a TV show

●       1970s – travelling on his tour plane

●       1970s – performing on his stadium tour on the West Coast

●       1980s – spotlight performance

●       1990s – backstage moment in the dressing room preparing to go on stage

●       2000s – performing on the Red Piano tour

●       Present day – reflecting on his life whilst sat at his original first piano

Partner launch

Traditionally, John Lewis launches its advert across its own social channels and on, but in a first for the retailer this year, the responsibility is being given to all of John Lewis’s Partners to share the advert first. All 83,000 John Lewis and Waitrose Partners will be able to share the ad for 2 hours this morning before it is launched by the company at 8am.

Film production details

The Boy & The Piano was created by advertising agency adam&eveDDB in collaboration with Rocket Entertainment, alongside Manning Gottlieb OMD for media planning and buying. It was directed by Seb Edwards from Academy Films.

The Elton John Charitable Trust

The Elton John Charitable Trust  was set up to allow Elton John and David Furnish to make charitable contributions outside the world of HIV/AIDS. Since its formation in 2007, the EJCT has supported over 90 charities across a multitude of causes.


For further information please contact:

Emily Dimmock,
Partner & Senior Communications Manager, Corporate, John Lewis & Partners
mobile: 07712 545677
tel: 0207 931 4193

Elli Share,
Partner & Communications Officer, John Lewis & Partners
mobile: 07702 279904
tel: 0207 798 3145

John Lewis Press Office
tel: 0207 592 6994