John Lewis launches its Christmas ad

Shoppers in John Lewis’ Oxford Street branch can step into the set of the department store’s Christmas ad, which launched today. The chance to explore the set and sit at the piano that features in The Boy & The Piano campaign – which tells how the gift of a piano changed the life of the boy who grew up to be Elton John – chimes with the department store’s strategy of offering experiential retail in order to encourage its customers to come in-store. John Lewis says that shoppers in the store will be able to “step into Christmas on every floor” through experiences from the ad. That branch, along with 14 of its others across the UK, will also give customers a chance to play a Yamaha piano in-store.

Craig Inglis, partner and customer director at John Lewis & Partners, said: ’Think back to all of the Christmases that you have enjoyed over the years – I’m sure there is one very special gift that stands out above all others. That’s the magical feeling we wanted to bring to life this year. The ad tells the story of why Elton’s piano was more than just a gift and we hope to remind customers of that special moment when they’ve given a gift at Christmas time that they know will be treasured forever.”

Elton John said: “It’s been a lovely opportunity for me to reflect on my life in music and the incredible journey I have been on, and how first playing my grandmother’s piano marks the moment when music came into my life. The ad is absolutely fantastic and I’ve truly loved every minute of being a part of it.”

The ad launched first to John Lewis and Waitrose staff before running on its social media channels, website and in-store from 8am. Its first TV airing will be tonight at 9.15pm on ITV.

Latest Black Friday deals launch

More retailers are joining the race towards Black Friday, a week out from the day itself.

Argos’ Black Friday deals are set to go live at midnight. There will be deals on technology, televisions, video games, health and beauty gadgets and more. The retailer says it will be offering its lowest prices ever on some electrical products, as well as ’buy one, get one half-price’ offers on jewellery.

The retailer points to its fast delivery services as part of that offer, via click and collect at more than 1,000 sites, including 250 Argos stores in branches of Sainsbury’s, or via Fast Track delivery in as little as four hours and up to 10pm at night.

Appliances Direct deals also go live from midnight, with savings of up to 50% on televisions, kitchen gadgets, hoovers and more.

New forecasts for Christmas spending

UK consumers are predicted to spend £13.41m per minute over the Cyber Weekend this year, according to VoucherCodes.co.uk and the Centre for Retail Research (CRR). Of that, it expects £8.29bn to be spent online and offline between Black Friday (23rd November) and Cyber Monday (26th November). That’s a 6% increase…