give a little love heart vector
THE MAKING OFGIVE A LITTLE LOVE
Give a Little Love

We take a look behind the scenes of the John Lewis and Waitrose Christmas advert 2020, to discover more about the inspiration and creative work that went into its production over the course of an extraordinary year

 

#GiveALittleLove

THE THEME
This year, there was no doubt that our Christmas advert had to deliver something different. After the tumultuous events of the last 12 months we felt the need to do something truly exceptional. But what? How to create an advert with real meaning while also warming the hearts of the nation? Like everyone else, John Lewis had to adapt quickly as our lives changed almost overnight. We were still early in the process of ad production in March when the pandemic broke and this soon shaped the idea. Our Give A Little Love theme was inspired by the huge wave of kindness that swept across the country as people came together to help support everyone in their communities.
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A little love gets passed on, then gets passed on to another person. That’s what we’re going to need this Christmas

Anthony Farquhar-Smith,-Animator Supervisor
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Christmas
‘We wanted to inspire a generation with the thought that if we all simply give a little more love, the world will be a better place,’ says Claire Pointon, Director of Customer, John Lewis. ‘Every year it’s important for us to ensure we are mindful of the world in which we are living when it comes to our advertising. So it felt like the right thing to do to dedicate a moment we are most famous for to a really purpose-led initiative.’ The result? An advert that called on the very best creative minds from across the UK and Europe to deliver something truly unique, alongside a campaign to raise £5million for charities by Christmas.
An Interview with Celeste
THE CONCEPT
The aim was to enlist the help of different creatives – talented illustrators, animators and makers, all experts in their field – who could bring our vision to life. The group ranged from high-profile directors and puppeteers to university graduates. Everything – from the claymation figures and Spikes the hedgehog, to the cardboard 222 bus to Tooting – was painstakingly made by hand. British director Oscar Hudson was tasked with the job of blending the styles and bringing everything together in a series of stop-motion vignettes.
Behind the scenes
Behind the scenes
Behind the scenes

The whole ad is made up from different styles of animation, but it’s joined together in the narrative of giving a little love

Anthony Farquhar-Smith,-Animator Supervisor
THE STORYLINE
Our story is about passing on the love. It starts with a girl helping a boy to get his lost ball out of a tree with her umbrella, and a domino effect is set in motion. The boy comes to the rescue of a melting snowman, who then lends a hand replacing the tyre of a broken-down car whose passengers deliver a bag of Waitrose shopping. The recipient pulls a cracker with his lonely neighbour – a barber – who gives a boy an extra-special heart-shaped haircut. The boy passes a symbolic heart to his little brother while a flock of pigeons watch through a window. Touched by the boy’s act of kindness the pigeons help a hedgehog fly (he just wants to be in their gang!). The heart-shaped trail from the hedgehog plane is spotted by a nurse – who, inspired by the symbol of love, helps a little girl to fix her glasses.
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Christmas
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Christmas

This particular campaign needed a really lovely collection of characters

Andy Gent,-Puppet Maker
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THE SOUNDTRACK
This year, hitting the right note with the soundtrack was also crucial. Soon, it became clear there was one up-and-coming star who fitted the bill perfectly: British singer-songwriter Celeste. Having won a BRIT Award earlier this year and been lauded in the music press as the breakthrough act of 2020, it was clear Celeste was the woman for the job. Her incredible, powerful voice and raw energy made her the perfect choice. Thankfully Celeste shared our vision for Give A Little Love and she was inspired to write an original composition with songwriter Jamie Hartman. Click on the pic below to read our full interview with Celeste and find out more about what went into the the writing and recording of the soundtrack.
An Interview with Celeste
THE CHALLENGES
Filming the live-action scenes in the middle of a global pandemic was, of course, a challenge and the shoot happened later than usual, during the autumn between the two lockdowns. The health of the small cast and crew was our number one priority and so shooting in a Covid-secure way was paramount. As a result, lots of face masks, temperature checks, Covid tests and a huge amount of hand gel were involved.
THE CREATIVES BEHIND THE ADVERT
From famed directors and animators to university graduates, meet the creative team that brought the concept to life
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Oscar HudsonLeksey LeeAward-winning British music director Oscar Hudson is known for his work on videos for bands such as Radiohead and Bonobo. For this year’s Christmas advert, Oscar worked with individual artists and animators to create a storyboard which laid out his vision of how to bring the script to life.Graduating this year, Leksey Lee has a passion for drawing, making and animating, and is especially fond of colourful and playful things. She loves creating characters and stories that are curious and optimistic and has recently worked on projects for Cartoon Network, BOOST&Co and Whizz-Kidz.
Chris HopewellLeksey LeeChris Hopewell is a highly-acclaimed video director and artist who has worked with Radiohead, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers and Scissor Sisters among many others. Chris created the ingenious claymation scenes where we see the young boy save the clay snowman.Graduating this year, Leksey Lee has a passion for drawing, making and animating, and is especially fond of colourful and playful things. She loves creating characters and stories that are curious and optimistic and has recently worked on projects for Cartoon Network, BOOST&Co and Whizz-Kidz.
Sylvain ChometLeksey LeeBAFTA award-winning, Oscar-nominated French director, Sylvain Chomet is a storyteller with an unrivalled reputation for highly-creative animation, whose work includes a spot guest directing The Simpsons’ famous opening title sequence. Sylvain created the 2D snow world illustration where the snowman helps the snow family change their car tyre.Graduating this year, Leksey Lee has a passion for drawing, making and animating, and is especially fond of colourful and playful things. She loves creating characters and stories that are curious and optimistic and has recently worked on projects for Cartoon Network, BOOST&Co and Whizz-Kidz.
Anete MeleceLeksey LeeZürich-based illustrator and filmmaker, Anete Melece, has lent her highly original and distinct style of drawing to a wide variety of creative projects. Anete created the scene where the Waitrose bag is dropped off and the neighbours pull a cracker together.Graduating this year, Leksey Lee has a passion for drawing, making and animating, and is especially fond of colourful and playful things. She loves creating characters and stories that are curious and optimistic and has recently worked on projects for Cartoon Network, BOOST&Co and Whizz-Kidz.
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MegaComputeurLeksey LeeA collective of French directors bringing an off-kilter sense of humour to all of their work, MegaComputeur is famed for its quirky, visually-beautiful films. MegaComputeur created our neighbour and barber who cuts a young boy's hair into a heart shape.Graduating this year, Leksey Lee has a passion for drawing, making and animating, and is especially fond of colourful and playful things. She loves creating characters and stories that are curious and optimistic and has recently worked on projects for Cartoon Network, BOOST&Co and Whizz-Kidz.
Andy Gent & Anthony Farquhar-SmithLeksey LeeKnown for his work on Wes Anderson’s stop-motion feature Isle Of Dogs, Andy Gent has been creating puppets for almost 25 years. His London-based stop-motion puppet and marionette workshop has contributed to a number of notable film and television projects.Whether working on feature films or directing TV programmes or commercials, stop-motion director Anthony Farquhar-Smith is known for his ability to bring inanimate objects to life, giving them personality and feeling. Anthony worked on Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and was lead animator on Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox.Together, Andy and Anthony are the animators responsible for the puppetry scenes with our pigeons and the hedgehog who just wants to be a part of their gang.Graduating this year, Leksey Lee has a passion for drawing, making and animating, and is especially fond of colourful and playful things. She loves creating characters and stories that are curious and optimistic and has recently worked on projects for Cartoon Network, BOOST&Co and Whizz-Kidz.
Anna MantzarisLeksey LeeAnna Mantzaris is an award-winning Swedish animation director based in London and Stockholm. Her work is often character driven and she loves to mix humour and melancholy.Her most recent film Good Intentions premiered at BFI London Film Festival and was awarded at the London International Animation Festival . Anna created the felt animation scenes where the nurse fixes the young girl's glasses.Graduating this year, Leksey Lee has a passion for drawing, making and animating, and is especially fond of colourful and playful things. She loves creating characters and stories that are curious and optimistic and has recently worked on projects for Cartoon Network, BOOST&Co and Whizz-Kidz.
The Creatives
Oscar HudsonAward-winning British music director Oscar Hudson is known for his work on videos for bands such as Radiohead and Bonobo. For this year’s Christmas advert, Oscar worked with individual artists and animators and turned the script into a storyboard which laid out his vision.
Chris HopewellChris Hopewell is a highly-acclaimed video director and artist who has worked with Radiohead, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers and Scissor Sisters among many others. Chris created the ingenious claymation scenes where we see the young boy save the clay snowman.
Sylvain ChometBAFTA award-winning, Oscar-nominated French director, Sylvain Chomet is a storyteller with an unrivalled reputation for highly-creative animation, whose work includes a spot guest directing The Simpsons’ famous opening title sequence. Sylvain created the 2D snow world illustration where the snowman helps the snow family change their car tyre.
Anete MeleceZürich-based illustrator and filmmaker, Anete Melece, has lent her highly original and distinct style of drawing to a wide variety of creative projects. Anete created the scene where the Waitrose bag is dropped off and the neighbours pull a cracker together.
The Creatives
MegaComputeurA collective of French directors bringing an off-kilter sense of humour to all of their work, MegaComputeur is famed for its quirky, visually-beautiful films. MegaComputeur created our neighbour and barber who cuts a young boy's hair into a heart shape.
Andy Gent & Anthony Farquhar-SmithKnown for his work on Wes Anderson’s stop-motion feature Isle Of Dogs, Andy Gent has been creating puppets for almost 25 years. His London-based stop-motion puppet and marionette workshop has contributed to a number of notable film and television projects.Whether working on feature films or directing TV programmes or commercials, stop-motion director Anthony Farquhar-Smith is known for his ability to bring inanimate objects to life, giving them personality and feeling. Anthony worked on Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and was lead animator on Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox.Together, Andy and Anthony are the animators responsible for the puppetry scenes with our pigeons and the hedgehog who just wants to be a part of their gang.
Anna MantzarisAnna Mantzaris is an award-winning Swedish animation director based in London and Stockholm. Her work is often character driven and she loves to mix humour and melancholy.Her most recent film Good Intentions premiered at BFI London Film Festival and was awarded at the London International Animation Festival . Anna created the felt animation scenes where the nurse fixes the young girl's glasses.
GRADUATES FROM KINGSTON UNIVERSITYThis year we felt it was important to champion new talent, knowing that graduating in 2020 would be a greater challenge than usual. So we approached students from Kingston University’s BA in Illustration Animation to help bring our vision to life. They are responsible for the final four scenes of the advert
Bella McEvoyLeksey LeeBella McEvoy is an animator specialising in stop-motion and traditional animation. She likes to tell stories with paper cut-outs and plasticine and has directed and animated stop-motion films and music videos, including a recent project for Refugee Week. Graduating this year, Leksey Lee has a passion for drawing, making and animating, and is especially fond of colourful and playful things. She loves creating characters and stories that are curious and optimistic and has recently worked on projects for Cartoon Network, BOOST&Co and Whizz-Kidz.
Leksey LeeGraduating this year, Leksey Lee has a passion for drawing, making and animating. She loves creating characters and stories that are curious and optimistic and has recently worked on projects for Cartoon Network, BOOST&Co and Whizz-Kidz.
Amelia FowlerMarta Pinto Illustrator and animator Amelia Fowler creates strange creatures and humorous narratives, telling stories loosely inspired by her own experiences and observations. She has worked on projects for clients including the Old Vic theatre among others. Lisbon-based animator and artist, Marta Pinto has a varied portfolio of work and is interested in inventing visual languages to strengthen the storytelling of both her own and other’s animated films. Most recently Marta has been working for the publishing house LeYa, making animations for their digital learning platform.
Marta Pinto Lisbon-based animator and artist, Marta Pinto has a varied portfolio of work and is interested in the visual language of storytelling. Most recently Marta has been working for publishing house LeYa, making animations for their digital learning platform.

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