John Lewis Unexpected Guest 4

Source: John Lewis

The John Lewis Christmas ad follows a blossoming friendship between human boy Nathan and space traveller Skye

The John Lewis Partnership has launched its highly anticipated 2021 Christmas advert, titled ‘Unexpected Guest’, a week earlier than usual.

The parent company of Waitrose and John Lewis has released its TV advert, which typically indicates the start of the festive shopping season, after it registered higher customer demand compared with last year.

A spokeswoman for JLP confirmed that a rise in online searches for Christmas products had prompted the decision to launch the ad earlier than usual.

“We know our customers are excited for this festive season more than ever, as they reconnect with family and friends”, said JLP director of customer Claire Pointon.

“After the last 18 months, we wanted our advert to really celebrate this as we look forward to a brighter future.”

The TV ad, which is to first air on ITV on Thursday at 8.15pm, tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a young boy and a space traveller who is experiencing Christmas for the first time.

The two-minute advert follows the blossoming of a new friendship between human boy Nathan and space character Skye, who crashes her spaceship near Nathan’s family home.

As the unlikely relationship develops, Nathan introduces Skye to his family’s festive traditions – including mince pies and cosy sweaters – allowing her to experience many Christmas moments for the first time.

This year’s ad soundtrack was performed by British singer-songwriter Lola Young. The song, ‘Together in Electric Dreams’, was originally released by Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder in 1984.

Rumours that the retailer was dropping its highly anticipated advertising campaign started swirling around when art installations featuring a crashed spacecraft and a sign saying “Christmas is landing 04/11/21 #UnexpectedGuest” popped up in London and Newcastle.

Supermarkets have been gearing up for huge customer demand this holiday trading period, after lockdown restrictions last year prevented families and loved ones from gathering to celebrate Christmas.

M&S Food marketing director Sharry Cramond told The Grocer: “Customers have said to us that this Christmas has got to be bigger than ever.”

The upscale retailer too released its festive advert across TV and social media channels on Thursday.

Supermarkets have been grappling with a surge in demand weeks earlier than usual amid fears the supply chain crisis might affect stock availability in the run-up to Christmas.

A Grocer poll showed over half of shoppers revealed they were worried about not being able to get enough food for Christmas.

Several retailers, including Sainsbury’s and Fortnum & Mason, have encouraged customers to avoid leaving their seasonal shopping to the last minute.