British department store chain John Lewis has been known for releasing great ads to mark the Christmas season and it has become a tradition that Brits look forward to. For its 2018 Christmas ad, the chain and supermarket Waitrose also wanted to mark a major rebrand to John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners respectively. To do so, they and advertising agency adam&eveDDB turned to a rock classic.
The ad opens in a school auditorium with kids performing the last remnants of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” as their parents applaud from the audience. As those kids stand leave, the curtain opens to reveal four other children using flashlights to light their faces from below, mimicking the first scene from Queen’s 1975 classic, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The kids then begin singing the same song.
As one of their teachers directs the performance from behind the curtain, more kids are shown with some mimicking Queen lead singer and “Bohemian Rhapsody” songwriter Freddie Mercury behind the piano. High on production design for a grade school performance, the ad becomes a spacefaring rock opera with astronauts battling robots and Martians while spaceships and smoking volcanoes litter the landscape before reaching its rocking climax.
It closes with the words, “When you’re part of it, you put your heart into it.” Finally, the new logos for John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners is revealed, together with the tagline, “For us, it’s personal.”
Aside from using 82 children and 11 adults in a spot that was filmed over five days, the ad becomes even more timely when one considers another fortuitous circumstance. The film on the life of Freddie Mercury and Queen also titled Bohemian Rhapsody is set to be released in a little over a month and this early, is already generating Oscar buzz for star Rami Malek’s performance as Mercury. With awareness of the band and their music expected to be high once more, this campaign from adam&eveDDB is another hit for their client.