A John Lewis Rhapsody?

by Sep 7, 2018

Shirl reviews a new ad which touches on her specialist subject – all things Queen.

So, John Lewis/Waitrose are at it again. Another innovative ad which this time references their “partnership” ethos – or, as they say in their blurb to people interested in working with/for them, “We ask not only that you do your day job, but that you play an active role.” Well, there’s no question that the participants in this ad play a VERY active role!

So, what’s the premise this time? We open at the usual boring kids recital at a school. Cue parents desperately trying to look mesmerised by little Olivia’s/Noah’s violin playing (squawking?) They troop off stage to tepid applause as the stage curtains open to reveal 4 faces lit by handheld torches in an iconic formation. I’m confident everyone over the age of 30 will recognise it, and probably a good percentage of Gen Z too.

Then the music starts, and we are suddenly as engaged as the parents at the event. “Is this the real life, is this just fantasy?…….” Well, it’s fair to say it’s the latter as this is like no school recital I’ve ever been at or heard of. But hey, who cares – its Queen!!!

And, with that, the ad launches into the type of over-the-topness the group themselves were often accused of (and quite rightly too. But what’s wrong with a spot of over-the-topness?) Cue cute kids, rickety special effects, mesmerised parents, the odd John Lewis product adapted to fit the narrative and a proud looking teacher/director. We even get the Brian May guitar solo at the end. Yay! What’s not to love.

It’s fair to say that adding the music of Queen to an ad is not a groundbreaking idea. From “Another one bites the dust” for the Dacia Duster, to “A Kind of Magic” and “Somebody to Love” for Furniture Village, to “Flash” for, er Flash, ad makers know that adding the music of the most iconic band EVER (that’s a fact. Like a Trump fact. Just fact!) will grant them a sure fire ad winner.

The ad ends with the straplines “When you’re part of it, you put your heart into it” and “For us, it’s personal.” Very John Lewis/Waitrose. They aren’t making any attempt whatsoever to sell us anything. Other than themselves and their partnership ethos. And in the currently difficult trading environment maybe every little helps. Or is that someone else’s strapline?

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About Shirley Robinson

Since taking early retirement (Auntie) Shirley spends most of her time planning and booking foodie based holidays. When she’s in the country you will find her rustling up delicious concoctions in the kitchen, getting green fingers in the garden or competing in rowing competitions on the Wear.