John Lewis launches Christmas advert ‘The Beginner’ to raise awareness of children in care
- Retailer uses its biggest moment of the year to spotlight care experienced children
- Ad demonstrates the power of giving kindness in a year where Britons seek hope
- Campaign promotes the long-term Building Happier Futures programme
Thursday 10 November 2022: Today at 8.00am, John Lewis launches its 2022 Christmas advertising campaign.The 90-second advert, entitled ‘The Beginner’, follows the launch of the ‘Building Happier Futures’ programme from the John Lewis Partnership, which is a long-term commitment to help young people with experience of the care system in a number of ways, including to find meaningful careers.
In a challenging year, we felt it was important to demonstrate that it’s what we do that matters most. We are proud to use our Christmas advert as a way to generate conversation and action around an often overlooked issue.
There are an estimated 100,000 children and young people who will spend this Christmas in care this year, and we know that many young people who have experienced care as children can often feel isolated and forgotten, particularly at Christmas. We want them to feel seen this Christmas and to inspire our customers to come together with us to make a real difference to those that need it. Through a heartfelt story of one man’s determination to connect with a child, we see the power that kindness can make to someone else’s life.
‘The Beginner’ was created by adam&eveDDB with input from partner charities Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland, as well as specialist advisors, throughout the production process. From the opening scene, with Christmas as a backdrop, we follow a middle-aged man as he struggles comedically to master the skill of skateboarding. We see through his determined eyes many failed attempts and mishaps as he suffers a series of accidents.
Viewers are left questioning the motive behind his perseverance until the final scene, when there is a knock at the door. We see a social worker standing with Ellie, a young teenager who is waiting anxiously to enter her new Foster home, skateboard in hand. The significance of skateboarding to our protagonist becomes clear, as we understand his resolve to find common ground and a way to connect with Ellie as she is welcomed into their family home.
Children in the UK enter the care system via many different routes, and we understand that not all foster carers have the benefit of knowing who they will be caring for in advance. Ellie’s story is one portrait and our broader campaign also features authentic voices of carers and care experienced young people with different experiences of a complex care system.
Building Happier Futures Through the Building Happier Futures programme, we will support projects from organisations within the care sector that are working to build happier futures for care experienced people, helping to prepare them for employment as well as providing direct apprenticeship opportunities within the John Lewis Partnership.
We will also directly support children in care and young people leaving care through the tough Christmas period with donations of decorations, food and gifts. Children in care and their caregivers will be invited into John Lewis to enjoy magical Santa’s Grotto experiences. We will also transform the communal spaces of selected residential facilities run by Action for Children with electronics, furnishings and decorations. This Christmas our customers can support these aims by purchasing our Lewis Bear product: 25% of the sales from these items will go to our charity partners (Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland).* Products include; Lewis Bear £30, Lewis Bear pyjamas £19, Lewis Bear tote bag £5, Lewis Bear Chocolate slims £5, Lewis Bear Bauble Head £5, a Rampage Skateboard £34.99 and a Waitrose ChristmasYule Log. Customers can also donate through our in-store giving tree. A Giving Tree in our stores will invite customers to donate to our partner charities by taking a tag from the tree with a value between £5-£50 and scan it with their shop.
Claire Pointon, Director of Customer at John Lewis says:“ We are fortunate to have a truly unique platform in our Christmas ad, which sparks a national conversation. As a purpose-led brand, making a genuine difference in our communities is important. At John Lewis we care deeply about families, and recognise that they come in many different forms. For our biggest moment of the year, we decided to focus on one kind of family that is often overlooked. We are also very aware that not all care experience outcomes are as positive as Ellie’s. The home Ellie enters is filled with kindness, and the foster father’s actions demonstrate that ultimately, it’s what you do that matters most.”
Imran Hussain, Director of Policy & Campaigns, Action for Children, says:“ At Action for Children we want every child to have a safe and happy childhood. Every year, we work with over 40,000 children and young people in, or with experience of, the care system, and we know the challenges and poor outcomes they may face. We are delighted to be working with the John Lewis Partnership on its iconic Christmas advert and applaud the company for its work and long-term commitment to shining a light on the issues facing some of the most vulnerable children in the country. We believe this partnership will enable us to support and empower more children and young people as they make the transition from care into the adult world.
Pippa Wicks, Executive Director at John Lewis, says:“Turbulent times worsen social inequalities, and Christmas is a time when this can be most keenly felt. It’s more important than ever for our business to stand up and use our voice to make a difference where we can. Our Christmas campaign is an important step in our long-term plans to become the employer of choice for young people leaving the care system, and to provide lasting change and hope for children like Ellie.”
Louise Hunter, CEO of Who Cares? Scotland, said: “We know that Christmas can be difficult for lots of people, and that’s particularly true for our Care Experienced community who may not have family to spend it with. As the national membership body for Care Experienced people, we know that the Christmas period can bring loneliness, isolation and a sense of being different from others who enjoy a more traditional Christmas Day. We’re delighted that the John Lewis Christmas advert will feature a different kind of family, one which will resonate with the many thousands of people across the UK, with experience of care. At Who Cares? Scotland, our vision is a lifetime of equality, respect and love for all Care Experienced people and we are excited to have the support of the John Lewis Partnership in making that a reality.”
‘The Beginner’ is set to a soundtrack of All the Small Things, a cover of the Blink 182 track by Scott Bradlee’s Post Modern Jukebox featuring Puddles Pity Party.
Further information on the launch of Building Happier Futures can be found here.
YouTube link for the Advert here
YouTube link for the story behind the advert here
Further information on the launch of Building Happier Futures can be found here.
Hannah Doran, Communications Manager
[email protected]: 02075926994
Gemma Chaldecott, Senior Communications Manager
Leah White, Senior Communications Officer
About the John Lewis Partnership
The John Lewis Partnership owns and operates two of Britain's best-loved retail brands - John Lewis and Waitrose. Started as a radical experiment over a century ago, the Partnership is now the largest employee-owned business in the UK, with over 80,000 employees who are all Partners in the business. The Partnership is purpose-driven, existing to create a fairer and more sustainable future for our Partners, customers, suppliers and communities. Our Purpose not only inspires our principles, drives our decisions and acts as our guide to be a force for good, it steers us to do things differently and better - all in service of creating a happier world for everyone and everything we touch.
About Action for Children
Action for Children protects and supports vulnerable children and young people by providing practical and emotional care and support, ensuring their voices are heard and campaigning to bring lasting improvements to their lives. With 447 services across the UK, in schools and online, in 2021/22 we helped 671,275 children, young people and families actionforchildren.org.uk
About Who Cares? Scotland
Who Cares? Scotland was established in 1978 and is Scotland’s only national independent membership organisation for Care Experienced people. Its strategic vision is to secure a lifetime of equality, respect and love for Care Experienced people in Scotland. Find out more about Who Cares? Scotland by visiting www.whocaresscotland.org
Link to further ad imagery here
John Lewis will donate 25% of the retail price of each product sold to the following charities in the proportions listed: Action for Children (Registered Charity Number 1097940; Scotland Registered Charity Number: SC038092)(70%) and Who Cares? Scotland (Registered Charity No. SC026076)(30%)
On tote bag: 25% of the retail price of each product sold to the following charities in the proportions listed: Action for Children (70%) andWho Cares? Scotland (30%) The Giving Tree baubles: 70% donation to Action for Children and 30% to Who Cares? Scotland In Partnership with AFC &WC?S: On JL and WTR websites: [Waitrose/John Lewis] will gift 70% of your donation to Action for Children (Registered Charity Number 1097940; Scotland Registered Charity Number: SC038092) and 30% of your donation to Who Cares? Scotland (Registered Charity Number: SCO26076)(minus 5% platform charges)
Link to merchandise imagery here
Creative Agency: adam&eveDDB
Media Planning & Buying Agency: MG OMD
Bios of lead actors:
John Paul Hurley, ‘Father’: John Paul Hurley is a British actor from SouthYorkshire. His recent work includes TV series The Reckoning and The Lost King (2022). In 2007 he won best actor at the European Independent Film Awards in Paris for his role in the short 'Laid Off', which was filmed in Glasgow. In addition to his many appearances in populist television dramas he has also written the black comedy 'Ecclesiastical Supplies' which was staged in Glasgow in 2015.
Brooke Hart, ‘Ellie’: Brooke Hart is a rising British actor who has had a number of film, commercial and theatre roles. In 2017 she starred in the NSPCC Say Something campaign. She played Paige in the National Theatre production of Love. Brooke attended Stagecoach, has a bursary at the Norwood school. She is a keen singer and holds qualifications from LAMDA.
Bio of Music Artist
Postmodern Jukebox is a rotating musical collective founded in Queens, NY by arranger and pianist Scott Bradlee in 2011. The band has played over 1000 shows on six continents nationwide, making the pop hits of today into the classic styles of the legends of yesterday.