Christmas 2012 Lookback
2012 was a bit of an odd year. Advertisers were so distracted by the Olympics and the Skyfall Bond movie that budgets for new adverts were somewhat drained by the time the run-up to Christmas had arrived. As a result, they appeared later in the year and fantasy special effects were mainly shelved in favour of realistic scenes of families enjoying the festivities. Christmas magic was thin on the ground as seasonal schmaltz smothered the ad breaks.

That isn’t to say that it was a poor year for lovers of festive frippery, it was just a little less glamorous than usual. Let’s take a look back and see how 2012’s Christmas run-up shaped up...

John Lewis Steals The Limelight Once Again

John Lewis can be relied upon to deliver a Christmas advertising campaign that grabs the nation by its throat, its hearts and its wallets - in roughly that order. Following on from the previous year’s “Boy Who Waited”, this time John Lewis found a way to make an inert object the centre of attention in a storyline that showed off the best of humanity. “The Snowman’s Journey” plotted out the story of a snowman travelling to the shops to buy the perfect present for his partner. The snowman itself is not filmed moving, but is motionless in sequence of scenes surrounded by the movement of everyday life, showing its own strenuous journey as it crosses hills, streams and motorways in order to find the gift.

The schmaltz was laid on thickly, complete with a cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Power Of Love” by breakthrough artist Gabrielle Aplin. Even though it follows the John Lewis formula for a Christmas advert, it still works as a captivating and heart-warming minute-and-a-half.


The advert was so popular that a spin-off children’s book has swiftly put together by a fan with the company’s backing, and then sold in John Lewis stores up and down the country. ALDI’s cheeky ad campaign found spoofing it irresistible, and John Lewis’ Christmas reputation was safely secured for another year.

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