3 minute read

How John Lewis got #ManOnTheMoon so right

Branded as one of the most successful adverts of this Christmas season, the Johns Lewis ad has made people up and down the country well up. Even if you don’t watch TV, you couldn’t have missed it, it’s everywhere; every newspaper and magazine seems to have written about the advert. From the nationals to Country Living all the way through to parenting blogs.

We’ve compiled the most shared pieces of coverage into a CoverageBook.


There’s some great statistics here — we’d estimate the coverage has been viewed nearly 35 million times, shared 2.43 million times and the various videos viewed 133 million times across YouTube.

There are 118 links back to the John Lewis website too — really helping boost the site’s visibility in Google ahead of the key retail period of the year… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This was only the top 1,000 shared pieces of coverage. And let’s put this into perspective, this is an advert, the purpose is to pay for it to be placed, yet it’s gained so much editorial space too. That’s £7 million well spent I’d say

So why was this so successful?

Firstly the success is not just down to this year. John Lewis has been getting Christmas ads right for so many years that even before it is launched people are already eagerly awaiting. This goes to show that constantly getting it right really pays off.

This charity tie-up with AGE UK was simply genius. It moved the ad to be more than just another buy more crap advert. Buy crap *ahem* presents for someone that deserves it. By choosing a very accessible charity, it touches almost everyone’s heart strings. Whether it be a grandparent or simply a person in your street, everyone knows a lonely person, and if made to think about it, everyone can associate and will feel guilty. The result was not only a warmer feeling to a retail giant, but people were so touched by the advert that they have been volunteering to help the elderly and John Lewis receives the credit and some more coverage.

The music choice also generated multiple press angles. It was a great choice, first off because everyone knows the tune so there’s immediately the nostalgic touch. But by getting new talent, Aurora to cover the song helps spark debates whether she made the song better or worse but encoraged features introducing her. In addition, they managed to spark a new round of coverage when Liam branded Noel a ‘sell-out’ for allowing the advert to be used.

Another reason why this advert gained so much coverage was the parody ads it sparked. Students worked with MyVoucherCodes to hijack the news and recreate their own budget version, releasing it only hours after it was produced. Aldi likewise did a great copy. It was also compared to other sad adverts this Christmas such as this one from German supermarket chain Edeka, which conveniently also featured a lonely old man at Christmas.

Finally, it may or may not be a coincidence that Star wars is launching and we sent our first astronaut into space that they decided on a moon theme!

Internally we have been discussing the STEPPS model recently (a model taken fromJonah Berger’s book, Contagious, which looks at why things go viral). The John Lewis ad ticks so many of the boxes Jonah identifies.

It creates Social currency as people are eagerly awaiting and love to talk about it, it rides on the Trigger of Christmas and is becoming an iconic sign that the festive time has arrives. It’s Emotive and all the spoof ads tick of the Public box. Lastly and as well as the ad telling moving Story, it’s sparked many personal copycat stories.

Well done John Lewis — probably time to start planning next year now?

Written by —
Laura Joint

Laura Joint

Laura is a Director at CoverageBook. She writes and helps PR teams succeed in the reporting of their hard work.