John Lewis and adam&eveDDB hit top form with Christmas ‘Unexpected Guest’

Lots of us have our fingers crossed that Christmas this year will be as it used to be, Covid permitting of course. Which means connecting relatively freely with others.

A normal Christmas means a feelgood John Lewis ad, in the UK anyway, reflecting JL and adam&eveDDB’s ability to capture an aspect of the festival most of us can relate to. This year’s is about connecting but with a twist: a teenage alien as an ‘Unexpected Guest.’

Last time JL made a foray into space it wasn’t wholly a happy one: a somewhat creepy man on the moon.

This one (borrowing quite heavily from ET but that’s part of culture and 30 or so years ago) is right back to form, one of the best in a long series. From the perfect casting and filming to music from newbie Lola Young. Directed by Mark Molloy for Smuggler.

Respect for John Lewis for sticking to its big Christmas guns amid all of retail’s travails and to A&E: an agency at the top of its considerable game.

MAA creative scale: 9.25.


You won’t see a bag of Waitrose groceries in the spaceship as this year the two JL-owned brands are going their separate ways.

JL customer director Claire Pointon says: “We’ve done it for the last two years (combining them.). We thought about it long and hard, considering how our brands talk to our customers. What are we trying to communicate?”

“Although it worked well for the last two years, we actually want to make sure brands have real clarity of thought around them. There are only two minutes to communicate both what Waitrose wants to be famous for in terms of amazing tasting food and ourselves (JL) around really moments that matter around Christmas. It’s quite tricky to do that.”

Too right, good decision.

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