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John Lewis Christmas Advert YOUNG GIRL

The most eagerly anticipated advert of the year

Making a successful campaign even stronger...

John Lewis

Making a successful campaign even stronger

The John Lewis Christmas campaign has firmly established itself as one of the most anticipated advertising events of the year. It is famed for its emotive storytelling, which holds appeal across all demographics, in the UK. Driven by the brand building ability of TV, John Lewis adverts have been grabbing news headlines for years, fuelling social conversations, and consistently achieving over 20million YouTube views for every campaign.

In 2016, John Lewis approached Sky Media with the question – “How can we make our Christmas campaign even more successful?” Sky Media accepted the challenge and the partnership set out to develop a campaign to elevate the John Lewis Christmas advert to new heights.

“Every year we try to evolve and innovate in our approach to our Christmas launch. The work with Sky Media for Buster the Boxer was another fantastic example of this and the results were exceptional.”

Rachel Swift, Head of Brand Marketing, John Lewis


For decades TV has sat at the heart of the family home, bringing families together to share and experience great content. For a brand like John Lewis, renowned for storytelling and creating a deep, emotional connection with its audience, TV is an intrinsic part of the Christmas campaign. Knowing this, Sky Media wanted to pay homage to the brand’s legacy and evolve the traditional use of TV advertising, by creating a truly innovative platform for the 2016 Christmas campaign.


The idea for the campaign was to build on John Lewis’ reputation for great storytelling and continue the narrative, beyond the TV advert, to deepen the brand’s emotional connection with the audience. Sky Media identified the best way to achieve this would be to create exclusive branded content, which would take the audience behind-the-scenes of the advert and bring the campaign the life.

John Lewis’ advert and branded content deserved to be watched on a big screen – so that the audience would experience the full impact of the creative. As a result, the campaign idea evolved even further, to include placement of the advert and branded content on Sky’s EPG (Electronic Programming Guide) homepage. This positioning would ensure millions of households across the UK would be exposed to the advert as soon as they turn on their TV, and could share another John Lewis iconic moment.


Sky Media proposed to activate two ‘media firsts’ for the partnership. Firstly, a specially created destination on the Sky EPG homepage, hosting exclusive content. Secondly, an all-encompassing multiplatform roadblock, ensuring exposure to the ad across all devices.

From 8am on launch day, Sky customers in over 12 million households, could exclusively view the 2-minute John Lewis ad and exclusive behind-the-scenes film, in a specially created Video on Demand (VoD) ‘hero’ tile on Sky’s most premium real estate – the homepages of Sky+, Sky Q and Sky Go. This was the first time an advertiser had been positioned within this space.

Sky’s EPG homepage was identified as a new and original location for the public to discover the long-awaited advert. Never before commercialised and accessed by millions of viewers every day this destination would generate enough traffic to quickly broaden the campaign’s reach, and engage with consumers in a much more memorable way.

As well as the first place to see the ad on TV, Sky customers were able to watch ‘Making Buster the Boxer’ – an exclusive look at the new Christmas ad. In addition, bespoke content was created by Sky’s acclaimed in-house programme makers to accompany the ad. ‘Garden Friends’ presented by nature documentary filmmaker and Sky Talent, Patrick Ayree, highlighted how viewers could encourage local wildlife into their own gardens – complementing the narrative of the ad campaign. All of this great content was available to Sky customers throughout the month of December via VoD and Sky Go platforms, and promoted through the Sky Kids app and Sky’s social channels.

At 8pm on launch night, the partnership rolled out the campaign to a mass audience. The goal was to ensure however the audience consumed content, at 8pm they would be part of the 2016 John Lewis Christmas ‘moment’.

Sky Media evolved the traditional multi-channel roadblock concept and executed the biggest ever multi-platform roadblock for the ad across 100+ channels, as well as featuring on all VoD and Sky Go viewing until midnight. Furthermore, for the first time ever, Sky extended the break minutage on these platforms to accommodate the 2-minute ad. Across linear TV, the ad was supported with a unique 10 second ‘outro’ from Patrick Aryee, driving viewers to the additional On Demand content featured on the Sky platform and the John Lewis website to further enhance engagement.

To activate the campaign even further, John Lewis broadcast the specially created ‘Garden Friends’ content throughout stores – meaning that customers were exposed to the creative across multiple touchpoints.



  • The John Lewis VoD tile content was downloaded almost 1 million times. Once downloaded, homes were able to view the content as many times as they liked at moments that suited them and their families
  • After just 4 days, the Linear roadblock across Sky Go & VOD achieved over 5m views


  • 43% of households were reached via the On Demand content alone
  • +74% uplift in household reach as a result of the On Demand activity within the EPG

John Lewis In-Home Research

“I feel lucky to have an insight into the making of the advert at my fingertips.”


“They are letting you in on the magic.”

“Feels like content you couldn’t get elsewhere.”

“Packaged up and given to us as an early Christmas gift.”

“It was great to watch it on a big wide screen.”

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