Waitrose axes fancy Christmas ad for good causes – take that John Lewis!

Well here’s a funny thing.

Waitrose, owned by John Lewis, has decided to axe its expected all-singing-and-dancing Christmas ad in favour of donating an extra £600,000 to charity, which it claims it will save on production costs. Although it still booked a spot in the uber-pricey X-Factor to tell us so.

Presumably the money includes the fees for Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal. You don’t often see a one-take commercial do you?

Waitrose is owned by John Lewis which is preparing to launch its Christmas blockbuster through Adam&Eve/DDB on this coming weekend’s X-Factor. And it’s said to be unamused by the Waitrose hair shirt, which might make its own effort look somewhat profligate.

Wonder who’s idea it was? BBH is the Waitrose agency where the account is run by veteran creative Ken Hoggins who’s shepherded the Waitrose account through numerous agencies. BBH claims that it zags while the world zigs, so maybe it’s zagging again.

Or possibly Waitrose and BBH have decided that there’s so much retailer-inspired schlock on at Christmas (at eye-watering airtime prices) that it’s better keeping its powder dry.

As for John Lewis, this cranks up the pressure on A&E/DDB to deliver not just a winner but a winner that’s worth all that money (and more probably) we’ve just been reminded of. I wouldn’t be very happy if I was at John Lewis either.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.