Saatchi & Saatchi to create John Lewis’ Christmas ads following agency switch

The hire marks the end of the retailer’s hugely successful run with Adam&EveDDB, the agency behind every John Lewis Christmas ad since 2009.

16 May 2023

John Lewis has appointed Saatchi & Saatchi as its new creative marketing partner. The account covers all brand campaigns for the retailer, including the Christmas advert. The move will replace Adam&EveDDB, the agency which has worked with John Lewis for over a decade, turning its Christmas spot into one of the most hotly anticipated of the season. The swap comes after John Lewis recorded a loss for 2022.

Adam&EveDDB has held its account with John Lewis since 2009, shortly after Ben Priest, David Golding, James Murphy and Jon Forsyth founded the agency. Saatchi & Saatchi has been running for longer since 1970, a decade in which it worked with the Conservatives on its well-known ‘Labour Isn’t Working’ campaign, quickly becoming one of the biggest agencies in the UK.

In 2011, Adam&EveDDB helped change the formula of Christmas ads in the UK into something more emotive. Creative director Matt Gay explains: “By 2011, we had produced two beautiful spots for John Lewis Christmas […] But both were vignette based, and focused heavily on half a dozen products; there was no story. Research showed us that people weren’t as emotionally engaged in these films as we had hoped. So in a brave move, John Lewis agreed to move away from an [ad] selling products, to something a bit more magical. The ad wouldn’t be about selling products, it would be about the feeling of giving”.

The agency has crafted a range of stories for the retailer since, including an alien experiencing Christmas for the first time, and The Beginner, telling the story of one young person in the care system over Christmas.

Charlotte Lock, customer director for John Lewis and Pan-Partnership, states: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with the talented team at Saatchi & Saatchi in our next stage of growth. As well as sharp strategic thinking and creative excellence, Saatchi & Saatchi’s culture, commitment to inclusion and social impact makes them a great fit for JLP. We’re very excited about what we’ll achieve together.”

Franki Goodwin, chief creative officer at Saatchi & Saatchi, adds: “This wonderful win is a testament to the creative talent and passion that fuels our mission to be the most influential creative company in modern Britain. [...] We were pushed all the way by the standard set by our predecessors and by the two agencies alongside us in the process. There’s no bigger need or indeed, appetite for advertising than the success of John Lewis Partnership – these brands are important to the fabric of our nation and we can't wait to get started.”

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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. After graduating from the University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, Indie magazine and design studio Evermade.

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