The new John Lewis Christmas ad is the best one yet
John Lewis has partnered with Age UK for its Christmas ad - fondly regarded as the pinnacle of festive retail - with a reminder to consumers to consider those who will be alone this year.
The full two-minute ad features the whimsical story of a young girl named Lily as she strikes up a connection with an elderly man who she spies through her telescope living alone on the moon.
She sets out to wish him a merry Christmas, finally succeeding by sending up the present of a telescope of his own tied to a bunch of balloons - a gesture much appreciated by the man in a scene that will likely cause at least some viewers to swallow hard.
The ad is set to the Oasis track, Half The World Away, recorded by the 19-year-old Norwegian artist Aurora and ends with the strapline "Show someone they're loved this Christmas".
The retailer said it had teamed up with Age UK in an effort to raise awareness of the million older people who go for a month, not just at Christmas, without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.
John Lewis's stores and website will be supporting the charity throughout November and December with activities, a text-to-donate mechanism and through the sales of selected Christmas merchandise.
The ad itself was made for around £1 million, mainly at the Warner Bros studio in Hertfordshire with a combination of creative set building and CGI, and the retailer is spending another £6 million on television slots.
John Lewis customer director Craig Inglis said: "Our Christmas advert is once again all about going the extra mile to give someone the perfect gift.
"This year though, the story is told in a uniquely creative and engaging way as we see Lily, our heroine, go to great lengths to connect with the Man on the Moon.
"We hope it inspires people to find really special gifts for their loved ones and through our partnership with Age UK, raises awareness of the issue of loneliness amongst older people and encourages others to support in any way they can."
The ad launches on the retailer's social media channels today and screens on television for the first time tonight during the first break of Gogglebox on Channel 4.
A number of other big-name brands and retailers are also revealing their Christmas campaigns today or tomorrow, including Argos, Aldi, Boots and Cadbury.
Aldi's ad is set to My Favourite Things from The Sound Of Music, recorded by up-and-coming British artist Jade Williams, and features the discounter's Christmas fare, while Cadbury's premieres tomorrow and is based around 24 of its trucks in the shape of an advent calendar.
Boots has turned to director Joseph Khan, who has recently been responsible for Taylor Swift's videos, to take viewers on a seconds-long dash through its range of gifts.
Argos's effort features a cast of 50 professional skiers and snowboarders rushing down a mountain surrounded by various contraptions filled with gifts.
In a refreshing take on the Christmas ad season, Jim Bolton, deputy executive creative director at CHI&Partners, said of the Argos ad: "We hope it gets people's hearts pumping and reminds them that Christmas isn't just about tearful moments and family hugs.
"It's also about joy, excitement and a playful dollop of fun in the snow - not to mention fast and convenient shopping."