Every year, as summer gives way to fall and the festive season begins to sneak in, anticipation for the new John Lewis Christmas advertisement reaches a fever pitch.
For the last 16 years, the company has delighted customers with magical tales of love and charity, generating famous advertisements such as The Long Wait, Monty the Penguin, and The Man on the Moon.
Now, for its 2023 offering, the business has done it once more, presenting a joyous tale that takes unexpected turns… It features one of their most famous musicians to date.
While John Lewis has previously placed its advertisements to the strains of well-known covers, they have opted to incorporate an original piece sung by none other than internationally renowned Italian singer Andrea Bocelli.
Yes, you read that correctly. The renowned singer, generally considered as having one of, if not the, most beautiful voice in the world, and who is’very passionate’ about Christmas, has collaborated with the shop to tell the story of Snapper, an unruly but endearing Venus flytrap.
Andrea, 65, created the original tune Festa from his Pisa home.
The opera singer’s powerful voice puts Snapper’s narrative to life, after a small kid sees a box at a market with an old-fashioned design that reads: ‘Grow your own ideal Christmas tree.’
Teddy Holton-Frances, eight years old, plays the boy who puts the seed that was inside the box at home and watches as a little plant develops from the dirt.
The small Venus flytrap comes to life, much to his amazement… Then it grows in size and personality at an alarming rate.
Snapper rapidly approaches Teddy’s height, and Teddy shines with happiness over his new companion as his mother, grandmother, and sister grow increasingly anxious about the Little Shop of Horrors-style monster in their house.
The child attempts to persuade his family that Snapper is the ideal replacement for their conventional Christmas tree, but they are unconvinced, hauling the plant out of the living room when he grows too large and causes chaos in their house.
Snapper is distressed as he is pushed out into the cold and forced to observe holiday celebrations from the garden, seeing the erection of a typical Christmas tree, much to the boy’s chagrin.
When Christmas approaches, the small child chooses to take a present off the tree and set it on the wintry ground by his beleaguered plant companion before his family joins him.
Snapper looks to have unwittingly put a halt to the Christmas excitement when he snatches up a present and appears to devour it down his neck.
However, the Venus flytrap swiftly reveals that he is only unwrapping the gifts for his family as he spits them back into their arms.
The major idea of the commercial, named ‘Snapper, the perfect tree,’ is to celebrate traditional family traditions while also welcoming new ones that may have arisen over Christmas.
Who knows, maybe in the future we’ll all start putting up enormous Venus flytraps instead of Christmas trees?!
Despite having to envision Snapper with the assistance of puppeteers and human stand-ins, Teddy was able to communicate the innocent anguish and pure delight of a kid with incredible finesse.
The eight-year-old, who appears to have no prior acting experience, was found via an open casting call, which prompted almost 2,000 youngsters to apply for the starring part.
In response to the’mood of the nation’ and a ‘difficult few years’ that many have faced, John Lewis purposefully chose a more joyous tone for their campaign this year.
‘Lots of people tell us that the John Lewis ad kicks off the Christmas season for them. So bringing all that together, we were like, do you know what – it feels like it’s a year for a bit more joy and a bit more uplifting,’ Rosie Hanley, Director of Marketing at John Lewis, said.
‘We wanted to bring back the Christmas magic and entertain. We wanted to have a little fun and hopefully that comes through.’
The John Lewis commercial is the embodiment of holiday cheer, yet it was shot on one of the hottest days of the year in August, with the residential backdrop of a street in Pinner.
Our thoughts are with all of the performers who had to dress in winter knits for the filming!
Franki Goodwin, Chief Creative Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi, spoke at length about the creation of Snapper, who will feature on a variety of John Lewis products, including fluffy children’s slippers.
Having begun the process of coming up with the ad in February, Franki said: ‘Because of time we had to start designing before we had the directors on board. It was brilliant because we were able to really figure out what we needed to create the emotion.
‘You may have noticed that he doesn’t have eyes, which is a big conversation that went on for a long time. But we develop these lovely – we call them feelers – these leaves that create characterisation.
‘It was really important to us that in the film specifically, he wasn’t a cartoon, but actually slightly more lifelike, slightly more rooted in plant world.’
Andrea Bocelli screaming out a strong Italian tune as a small child finds a best friend in an anthropomorphic Venus flytrap is not what we anticipated from this year’s John Lewis Christmas promo – but the unexpected pairing is full of festive romance.
What does Andrea Bocelli’s song Festa mean?
Andrea’s song for the John Lewis 2023 Christmas campaign, Festa, was written and produced by Italian electro-pop band Le Feste Antonacci. Festa means ‘festivity’ in Italian.
While it was expected that the commercial would contain a version of a well-known ballad, the song is entirely original.
Speaking about his involvement in the campaign, Andrea said: ‘I am delighted to take part in this wonderful and unique tradition of Christmas storytelling.
‘It is very special for me given the great support this will bring to both the John Lewis and Andrea Bocelli foundations. Joy to all of your worlds this Christmas!’
Festa will be released in a lengthier version as a charity single, with earnings benefiting the John Lewis Partnership’s Building Happier Futures charities, which serve to support young people and families with care experience who are in need.