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It’s Christmas

It’s Christmas!

…and those kids over at Adam & Eve have done it again with their heartfelt John Lewis ad.

Who would have thought a glimpse into the past of Elton John would be emotional, but it is.

But who cares? What does it have to do with John Lewis? What does a long successful pop career have to do with an ageing British retail brand fighting the online onslaught?

It turns out us humans aren’t won over by facts. We don’t make purchasing decisions with our heads, we make them with our emotions.

I can hear you now ‘Not me! I’m a logical fella!’ I wonder if in fact you shop for the cheapest because it makes you feel frugal, or safe, or like you’ve beaten the system?

Psychologists have found that people who have had the emotional part of their brain damaged struggle to make decisions because our decision making is hardwired to emotion.

So why does John Lewis spend millions of pounds every year on their Christmas ad?

Imagine if instead of Elton’s journey we had a film made of pie charts and stats. Imagine if the CEO told their media company that:

‘the research showed that children are a major part of getting parents to spend money at Christmas. We have found 87.4% of children do better at school if they have an emotionally fulfilling home life and that a good Christmas would mean this for the children. The stats speak for themselves!’

A video made of stats and pie charts to logically show parents that they ought to make a fuss of their children by buying them gifts, preferably from John Lewis, might not be as convincing as our imaginary CEO might imagine!

We watch Elton John’s success fly by, we see the journey itself, we see the origin of that story, a piano on Christmas day to a small unassuming boy, and bookend back to a thoughtful man at the same piano. The bookend is Christmas, a boy, a piano… a feeling. We associate our fond feelings of Christmas with John Lewis and changing our children’s life, making our children a success. Maybe I could have been Elton John? Why didn’t my parents buy me a piano from John Lewis?!

The emotion bypasses our brain and tells us that John Lewis means we can buy success, it even shows us that sacrifice is part of a parental role for our own children’s success so a loving parent should sacrifice this Christmas.

But it doesn’t tell us that. It doesn’t show us the stats or the graphs. It doesn’t stand at the front of class and lecture. It just told us a story.

Every videographer is given the stats. Told to make the bar graphs. Maybe push back. Ask the question. What is the emotion? What are they trying to achieve? How can you bypass the brain and make people buy what you have with the only real decision making part of their body; their heart.