John Lewis Christmas 2019 ad - what all brands should realise when they watch it

British retailer John Lewis have released their much anticipated Christmas 2019 ad.

British retailer John Lewis have released their much anticipated Christmas 2019 ad.

As expected it is touching, heartwarming, brilliantly produced, masterfully scripted; is supported by a perfectly scored backing track and does the job that it was meant to do with precision.

But what job is it exactly that this £1 million production is meant to be doing?

£1 million is a ton of money that could just as well have been spent on pay per click advertising or catalogues or PR - you know, stuff that the accountants and the super-logical beancounters that run most businesses these days can try figure out a return on investment.  

The job that the John Lewis Christmas 2019 ad was designed to do - is to embed this super-sentimental, tug-at-the-heartstrings story and set of characters deep within your subconscious so that when you are thinking of where to buy gifts for the people that you also feel all warm and fussy about, you automatically mentally associate John Lewis with that feeling.

Now I know this is super higher-grade stuff and nobody is expecting the sterile, personality-less moneymen who run big companies to understand this for one second, but this kind of big-thinking story stuff is what sets really strong brands apart from companies that simply push product and offer deals.

It's the difference between a brand that people actually give a damn about and find ways to support, and the managing of a money machine that people can't wait to uncover a scandal about.

Brand building cannot be unearthed in computer code.

You are not going to really connect your brand with customers by cost-cutting your way there.

The John Lewis Christmas 2019 ad campaign reminds all business owners and brand builders that stories well told still really matter. Investing money in your brand is still the best investment you can make, and hiring a CEO who is not a natural storyteller is shortsighted and will probably do more harm than good in the long-run.