Is The John Lewis’ Christmas Advert 2021 Any Good?


It has been a tough year for everyone: global pandemic hitting hard, climate change reaching its peak, the release of Tiger King 2…but, more importantly, John Lewis’ 2021 Christmas UK advert did not make anyone cry and has been accused of copyrights infringement.

This year’s John Lewis Christmas advert is a 2-minute short feature called Unexpected Guest. The film tells the story of a teenager who finds an alien girl near his home. To the sound of Together in Electric Dreams in a version by Lola Young, the boy introduces the girl to the Christmas’ traditions. He presents her with a mince pie, which she tries to eat whole including the foil bit. He throws a snowball at her and she seeks revenge by using her spaceship to playfully almost disintegrate him. It is snowy and adorable.

Despite all the criticism, this year’s advert is still better than Tiger King 2. Credit: John Lewis

However, the best amongst the professional critics of the London School of Online Random Commenters (LSORC) are unimpressed.

One example is Twitter which, always brickier than snow, featured the wit of evidently experienced online critic Craig Busby: “Oh look, they leave at the end. Just like John Lewis did in Sheffield.”

Another is Pumpkin, who commented on Youtube: “Ahh yes, Aliens always make me feel so Christmassy,” whereas Boating Photographer added: “And there was me waiting for something magical and christmasy to happen.”

Going against the grain, Emily Jackson asserted: “I love it!! Ignore the grinches – it’s a beautiful nod to first love, a first Christmas and the magic of feeling something new and special. Brilliant song choice too – earworm straight into my head! #UnexpectedGuest #alwaysbetogether #believe Well done and Merry Christmas Christmas tree”

The Portraits’ version of Together in Electric Dreams which the band claims JL has stolen. Credit: The Portraits

The earworm Ms Jackson referred to is a slowed-down version of the classic Together in Electric Dreams by Lola Young which was at the centre of yet another controversy involving this years’ John Lewis’ Christmas advert.

At the centre of the polemic is the Indie band The Portraits & Friends formed by Jeremy and Lorraine Millington have said they submitted to John Lewis a similar version of Together in Electric in March 2021 and asked if their arrangement could be used in the company’s advert. They received no response and now have claimed that JL has used their idea. JL denies the accusation and added that the person who usually handles submissions has now left the company.

On top of all that, there was also the unsurprising and uncreative criticism of the ad’s “wokeness” for the fact that its protagonist is a black teenager. However, a rare breed of reasonable online critic, Danny Mckie counter-argued:

“How sad for that little lad that the first thing people notice isn’t the advert itself, or his performance but the colour of his skin and it causes uproar! It’s 2021. He must only be about 9-10yrs old”

In response to criticisms of its inclusiveness, John Lewis replied on Twitter:

“Our advert celebrates the moments that make Christmas special. While many of you love it, some of you don’t, and that’s fine with us. But that doesn’t excuse the racist responses we’ve seen from a minority.

“We’re proud of our ad and we don’t tolerate any form of discrimination or racism.

“Some people have asked how we choose our actors. We always cast widely for lead roles and choose our actors on merit. We think our actors do a brilliant job of conveying the magic of Christmas.”

In times of world pandemic and mulled wine, maybe we could consider toning down the drama and up on the Christmas spirit.

If you are looking for some wholesome Christmas gift-giving, have a look at our selection of the best  Christmas gifts for gamers for less than £25.