Monday, 5 November 2012

The magic of John Lewis

When I was at university I remember a friend saying to me, "If I could, I would live in John Lewis" - and I was, at the time, totally perplexed, but over the last few years I've really come round to her way of thinking. If ever there was a shop that epitomised the life I aspire to (ok, call me a snob)  it would be John Lewis.

John Lewis, for the uninitiated, is a UK high street department store that trades on the tagline Never Knowingly Undersold. There's something incredibly British about the whole shop; it's understated rather than flashy, and sells a range of products and brands from the upper-middle end of the British high street. From typical 'yummy mummy' brands such as White Stuff and Joules to impeccably designed white bedlinen and crockery by Emma Bridgwater or Vera Wang right through to wallpaper, furniture and white goods (they give a free 2 year guarantee with everything!) We had our wedding list at John Lewis, and oh, what fun it was to go round the store with one of their magical list-making scanning machines. There's just something about the whole experience that makes you feel like you're incredibly safe and special.

But, aside from all of that, over the last few years, John Lewis has cornered the market in the MOST amazing adverts. Adverts that don't really sell a product but that capitalise on this very British yearning to be part of their brand story. Many other brands have followed suit but none do it quite as emotionally 'on key' as John Lewis. I won't wax too lyrical, but the first of these (check it out) had me in tears on several occasions, using, as it did Billy Joel's 'She's always a woman to me' to track the life of a woman from birth through to old age. Who really cared that the whole advert was full of anachronisms? Because in so many ways it was utterly, perfectly timeless. Apparently JL's sales soared by 40% in the months following the release of this advert, and I don't know a woman who didn't fall totally in love with the whole concept.Take a look at their most recent advert if you don't believe me that they must have geniuses of epic proportions working on their perfectly targeted campaigns:

So, call it clever marketing (well done 'Adam and Eve'/DDB ad agencies) but I'm right there. I want that John Lewis life, and, well, failing that, can I just have a copy of the tracks used in their last 5 adverts - they, like everything else about the brand, epitomise good taste!


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