HAVE your tissues at the ready – as this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert will leave you in tears.
The 90-second ad follows a middle-aged man as he struggles to master the skill of skateboarding.
He has a few mishaps and tumbles off the skateboard a number of times.
His wife looks bemused at his efforts and concerned when he struggles to put the star on the top of the Christmas tree due to his aching muscles – but he perseveres with the slightly odd hobby.
You’re left wondering why he’s so determined to learn to skate until the final scene, where there’s a knock at their front door.
We see a social worker standing with Ellie, a young teenager, who is waiting anxiously to enter her new foster home, with a skateboard in her hand.
The importance of the skateboard suddenly becomes clear as the man says he likes to skate too.
You realise that he has been looking for a way to find common ground with Ellie.
It ends by saying: “Over 108,000 children in the UK are in the care system.
“We’re making a long-term commitment to support the futures of young people from care.”
The John Lewis Christmas ad is widely considered the major advertising event of the year – and signals that the run up to the festive season has begun.
This year, the retailer wanted to use its ad, named The Beginner, to help raise awareness of some of the most vulnerable children in the country.
Many children and young adults who experience the care system can feel forgotten and isolated, particularly at Christmas.
It is the heartfelt story of one man’s determination to connect with a child, showing the power that kindness can make to someone else’s life.
Claire Pointon, John Lewis director of customer said: “We are fortunate to have a truly unique platform in our Christmas ad, which sparks a national conversation.
“At John Lewis we care deeply about families, and recognise that they come in many different forms.
“For our biggest moment this year, we decided to focus on one kind of family that is often overlooked.”
“We are also aware that not all care experience outcomes are as positive as Ellie’s.
“The home Ellie enters is filled with kindness, and the foster father’s actions demonstrate that ultimately, it’s what you do that matters most.”
For the first time, John Lewis has pledged to support a cause long term. It says it wants to become the top employer of preference from care experienced people.
Behind the scenes it has spoken with a number of charities and care experienced people to get the tone right of the advert, but to also learn about how it can support the community in the future.
It started working on the concept 18 months ago with its advertising agency adam&eveDDB.
In previous years it has spent up to £7million on making and promoting the advert – but this year they have been more cost conscious, the retailer says.
Customers will be able to buy items from the advert including a £34.99 skateboard and Lewis bear, costing £29.99.
It is working with two charities – Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland – to donate 25 percent of sales from merchandise.
This is the biggest amount that John Lewis has ever donated from merchandise sales, last year it was 10 percent.
The song is a cover of Blink 182’s All The Small Things sung by little-known US artist Mike Geier.
The advert launches on the retailer’s social media channels today and will be broadcast on telly tonight during the I’m a Celeb ad break.
To watch all the John Lewis ads through the years read our round-up.
John Lewis has been teasing shoppers about the launch of the ad.
Earlier this week, it changed the logo on its website and social media accounts.
Yesterday, it released a teaser video on social media which confirmed when the ad was being launched.