The Making of the John Lewis & Partners Christmas Advert

The Making of the John Lewis & Partners Christmas Advert

THE MAKING OF

Christmas title

Go behind the scenes of our new Christmas advert, as we reveal the inspiration, imagination and magic that led to the making of this year’s festive film starring Elton John.

#EltonJohnLewis

Sheets of paper showing sketched storyboard ideas for the advert

The beginnings of an idea

The planning of this year’s Christmas advert started back in January, when 300 different scripts arrived from our creative agency, adam&eveDDB. Craig Inglis, Partner & Customer Director and Becky Brock, Partner & Marketing Director agree that when they saw the script, “we just knew it had to be the one!”. The script was written with Elton John in mind and tells the heart-warming tale of how a young boy, who played his first notes on a second-hand piano, turned into a global superstar.

There is a universal truth around the power of a truly thoughtful gift. The story features Sir Elton John, but it is actually about the piano and the constant that it has been in his life, like a loyal old friend.

Craig Inglis
Partner & Customer Director

PLACE HOLDER

There is a universal truth around the power of a truly thoughtful gift. The story features Sir Elton John, but it is actually about the piano and the constant that it has been in his life, like a loyal old friend.

Craig InglisPartner & Customer Director
PLACE HOLDER
The man who calls 'action'

THE MAN WHO CALLS 'ACTION'

THE MAN WHO CALLS 'ACTION'

Award-winning director, Seb Edwards from Academy Films took on the task of bringing Elton John’s story to life. Chosen for his strong cinematic storytelling, Seb is known for unravelling complicated tales in a very simple and beautiful way. His directorial style lends itself perfectly to our advert which captures the life of an icon within just a few minutes.

Award-winning director, Seb Edwards from Academy Films took on the task of bringing Elton John’s story to life. Chosen for his strong cinematic storytelling, Seb is known for unravelling complicated tales in a very simple and beautiful way. His directorial style lends itself perfectly to our advert which captures the life of an icon within just a few minutes.

Seb Edwards is a brilliant director. He has a very subtle way of telling emotional stories and they just feel effortless so he felt like a natural fit for this script.

 Richard Brim 
Chief Creative Officer at adam&eveDDB

PLACE HOLDER

Seb Edwards is a brilliant director. He has a very subtle way of telling emotional stories and they just feel effortless so he felt like a natural fit for this script.

Richard Brim Chief Creative Officer at adam&eveDDB
PLACE HOLDER
Black decorative, minimal star

Bringing the story to life

Freddie Henderson as 3-year old Elton John

We lovingly recreated the iconic moments from Elton John’s life over six days of filming during September, including one day with the man himself. There were six different ‘Eltons’ present on set, including Freddie Henderson who plays a three-year-old Elton waking up to the gift of a piano on Christmas morning, and Simon Burbage who plays the flamboyant entertainer onstage at Madison Square Garden in New York, complete with pink mohawk wig and star glasses.

We lovingly recreated the iconic moments from Elton John’s life over six days of filming during September, including one day with the man himself. There were six different ‘Eltons’ present on set, including Freddie Henderson who plays a three-year-old Elton waking up to the gift of a piano on Christmas morning, and Simon Burbage who plays the flamboyant entertainer onstage at Madison Square Garden in New York, complete with pink mohawk wig and star glasses.

Simon Burbage as Madison Square Garden era Elton John

Our creative teams worked alongside Rocket Management and Universal Music to accurately recreate the sets and costumes which tell the story of Elton and his piano. Filming took place in a mix of locations, including a pub, which represented the Northwood Hills pub in Pinner where Elton played in his late teens, a school, inspired by the Royal Academy of Music which Elton attended as a child, and at Black Island Studios in London where sets were built to mirror iconic moments throughout the star’s history.

Our creative teams worked alongside Rocket Management and Universal Music to accurately recreate the sets and costumes which tell the story of Elton and his piano. Filming took place in a mix of locations, including a pub, which represented the Northwood Hills pub in Pinner where Elton played in his late teens, a school, inspired by the Royal Academy of Music which Elton attended as a child, and at Black Island Studios in London where sets were built to mirror iconic moments throughout the star’s history.

Recreation of Sir Elton at the Black Island Recording studios

The song we all know by heart

For the first time, our Christmas advert features a song recorded and sung by the original artist, rather than a cover of a classic with an up-and-coming singer. Richard Brim, Chief Creative Officer at adam&eveDDB explains how working with a musical icon posed the question, “which one of Elton’s amazing tracks would we use to tell his story?” Of course, there could only be one winner and that was, ‘Your Song’.

For the first time, our Christmas advert features a song recorded and sung by the original artist, rather than a cover of a classic with an up-and-coming singer. Richard Brim, Chief Creative Officer at adam&eveDDB explains how working with a musical icon posed the question, “which one of Elton’s amazing tracks would we use to tell his story?” Of course, there could only be one winner and that was, ‘Your Song’.

Each scene features an original recording of ‘Your Song’, including the moment Elton first recorded the track in London’s Trident Studio. The track was the first big hit for the superstar and has been voted the nation’s favourite Elton John song. Craig Inglis explains, “for us, it was a clear choice. 'Your Song' has the right emotions we needed to tell the story.” and with that, Elton sat at his piano once more to play the tune we all know and love.

Each scene features an original recording of ‘Your Song’, including the moment Elton first recorded the track in London’s Trident Studio. The track was the first big hit for the superstar and has been voted the nation’s favourite Elton John song. Craig Inglis explains, “for us, it was a clear choice. 'Your Song' has the right emotions we needed to tell the story.” and with that, Elton sat at his piano once more to play the tune we all know and love.

Beautiful amber decorations on a marble fireplace

SHOP CHRISTMAS

Exclusive gifts at John Lewis & Partners

SHOP EXCLUSIVE GIFTS

Beautiful plum-coloured dining room; with fully laid table and tree

PREPARE FOR GUESTS

THE JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS CHRISTMAS ADVERT 2018

THE JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS CHRISTMAS ADVERT 2018

The boy and the piano

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