5 things you need to know about the John Lewis Christmas advert 2018

The wait is over: the story for the John Lewis Christmas advert 2018, The Boy & The Piano, has finally been unveiled, with iconic musician Elton John taking a starring role.

Now that the advertisement has gone live on social media, viewers should brace themselves for another touching journey – this time, demonstrating the inspiration and influence one gift can have on a young boy’s life. That little boy just happens to be Elton John. 

To the soundtrack of his first major hit, ‘Your Song’, the short film opens on Elton as he is now, pressing the keys on his piano, and then tells us how he got there, following him  in reverse through his incredible career, right back to where it all started, with him receiving his first ever instrument from his mother and grandmother on Christmas Day.

John Lewis Christmas advert 2018
John Lewis

Craig Inglis, Partner and Customer Director, John Lewis & Partners explained of this year’s concept: ‘Think back to all of the Christmases that you have enjoyed over the years – I’m sure there is one very special gift that stands out above all others.’

‘That’s the magical feeling we wanted to bring to life this year. The ad tells the story of why Elton’s piano was more than just a gift and we hope to remind customers of that special moment when they’ve given a gift at Christmas time that they know will be treasured forever.’

With that lovely sentiment in mind, here are five things you need to know about the John Lewis Christmas advert 2018:

1. The rumours weren’t all true

John Lewis Christmas advert 2018
John Lewis

Yes, okay, it does star Elton, as was widely reported – but John Lewis say that the estimations of the cost of this year’s ad were wildly exaggerated. In fact, production was roughly around the same price as last year (remember Moz the Monster?), and when first approached to be involved, Elton asked for a portion of his fee to be donated to the Elton John Charitable Trust.

2. But the story is

John Lewis Christmas advert 2018
John Lewis

A huge amount of care and attention has gone into replicating key moments from Elton’s career, including the sets, costumes, and even the sound, which has been pieced together from clips from different decades. ‘It’s been a lovely opportunity for me to reflect on my life in music and the incredible journey I have been on, and how first playing my grandmother’s piano marks the moment when music came into my life,’ the singer himself said. ‘The ad is absolutely fantastic and I’ve truly loved every minute of being a part of it.’

3. It’s most experiential ad to date

John Lewis Christmas advert 2018
John Lewis

If you’re shopping in John Lewis’ flagship store on London’s Oxford Street this Christmas, you’re invited to step into the set of the ad and experience it for yourself, through the medium of a 2,000 sq ft experiential space on the 3rd floor where customers can explore the dressing room, recording studio and living room sets from the ad. The set is just one of a range of ad experiences in the shop that will have customers stepping into Christmas on every floor.

4. This year’s merchandise is quite different

John Lewis Christmas advert 2018
John Lewis

Far from the cuddly toys of yore, The Boy & The Piano sees John Lewis & Partners return to their roots and start selling pianos again, in a bid to inspire the next generation of music lovers. The Oxford Street store and John Lewis website will also be selling vintage-style Elton t-shirts to celebrate the launch of the ad.

5. You might have already missed some clues

John Lewis

The ad will first air on TV this evening at 9.15pm on ITV, during Dark Heart – however, in first, John Lewis and Waitrose Partners (employees) were allowed to share the ad online before anyone else, even the brand’s own accounts, at 6am – so perhaps you’d already seen a sneak peek? ITV viewers may have also noticed that yesterday, the soundtracks to some of the channel’s most iconic shows, including Coronation Street and This Morning, were given a little twist when they were played solely in piano notes. Oh, and the store also dropped the ‘Lewis’ from its flagship Oxford Street signage. Subtle, guys…