Grab a tissue, or six. The John Lewis Christmas ad has dropped and it’s a doozy

One middle-aged man’s slog to learn skateboarding; not a dry eye in the house.

10 November 2022


Don’t fix what isn’t broken. We all know the festive tradition of the John Lewis ad works, and the retailer is not about to reinvent the wheel this year – it’s stuck to the tried and tested route of ad agency Adam&EveDDB to produce a typically heart-wrenching story. On the subject of wheels, that’s where we kick off the 2022 iteration. A man is trying to learn to skateboard, and the skateboard is winning.

Titled The Beginner, the 90-second ad follows our determined protagonist struggling to stay on the board, from watching skateboarding tutorials at work to facing the derision of friends and family at the Christmas party. It is only at the end of the advert that we learn what he’s been practising so tirelessly for. A knock on the door shows a social worker standing with Ellie, a young teenager who is waiting anxiously to enter a new foster home, skateboard in hand.

John Lewis explains that The Beginner promotes the long-term ‘Building Happier Futures’ programme from the John Lewis Partnership – a commitment to help young people with experience of the care system in a number of ways. “In a challenging year, we felt it was important to demonstrate that it’s what we do that matters most,” a release from the retailer states. “We are proud to use our Christmas advert as a way to generate conversation and action around an often overlooked issue.”


Adam&EveDDB: The Beginner (Copyright © John Lewis & Partners, 2022)

The release cites that an estimated 100,000 children and young people will spend this Christmas in care this year. “We know that many young people who have experienced care as children can often feel isolated and forgotten, particularly at Christmas.” By showing someone’s commitment to connecting with a young person in care, the retailer hopes to show the difference “kindness can make to someone else’s life”.

Adam&EveDDB created the ad with input from partner charities Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland, also consulting specialist advisors throughout production. John Lewis emphasises that though the story hopes to bring attention to an overlooked narrative, it is just one story in a complex care system. “Children in the UK enter the care system via many different routes, and we understand that not all foster carers have the benefit of knowing who they will be caring for in advance,” it explains.

Louise Hunter, CEO of Who Cares? Scotland, concludes: “We know that Christmas can be difficult for lots of people, and that’s particularly true for our Care Experienced community who may not have family to spend it with. [...] We’re delighted that the John Lewis Christmas advert will feature a different kind of family, one which will resonate with the many thousands of people across the UK, with experience of care.”

GalleryAdam&EveDDB: The Beginner (Copyright © John Lewis & Partners, 2022)

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Adam&EveDDB: The Beginner (Copyright © John Lewis & Partners, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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