Christian re-make of John Lewis ad goes viral

A Cumbrian curate is part of a team behind a viral online video campaign based around a re-make of John Lewis’ popular Christmas advert, but with a moving Christian twist.

The Rev Robin Ham, a Pioneer Curate in the Barrow Deanery, helped write the script and website content for the Loved This Christmas campaign, after his friend, Dan Rackham, a community worker in Toxteth, Liverpool, came up with the idea and created the video.

Dan is based out of St Philemon’s Church, Liverpool, but also produces a YouTube video every week that seeks to showcase community life around the city. When Dan, aged 30, first saw John Lewis’ 2015 Christmas offering, he instantly felt it was the kind of advert that could be given a Christian twist. After bouncing the idea round with Robin and others, they thought it was a brilliant opportunity to highlight what God has done in giving us his Son.

Robin said: “Like most people, we loved the advert. But we’d love for people to look down the other end of the telescope this Christmas. When it comes to giving gifts, our conviction is that God has given us the ultimate gift, not just some fancy gadget or Mulberry handbag, but actually coming down to us and giving us himself. That’s what Christmas is all about.”

“Online videos are being consumed everyday on social media. So what better way to get people engaged and thinking.”

Since launching the video on Friday night, it has already had 43,000 views and been featured on YouTube’s Most Popular feed. The team have also received many requests for versions of the video to be used in churches and schools.

Robin said: “We’re delighted people are saying the video means something to them and that people feel able to share it. Dan had the initial idea to do a re-make as a bit of fun, but as the project came together it was obvious that what he’d created had potential to be valuable to lots of people. That’s when we had the thought to do an accompanying website [www.lovedthischristmas.com], which the video links to.

“So we’ve tried to create a simple site that gives people a chance to find out a bit more about Jesus, as well as to get some free literature, which Dan has organised for Christian publishers to kindly donate.”

In keeping with John Lewis’ ‘Man On The Moon’ title, the team have coined the phrase ‘Baby From The Stars’ for the website. And just as the original advert ends with the encouragement, ‘Show someone they’re loved this Christmas,’ Dan’s video centres around the phrase, ‘You’ve been loved this Christmas’.

The Rev Robin Ham and familyRobin added: “We’re also hoping the hashtag #lovedthisChristmas might get a bit of momentum over the next few weeks, and throughout December we’ll be using the Twitter account @lovedthisXmas as an online advent calendar.”

Dan said: “It’s a classic example of the community pulling together. I just couldn’t have done this on my own. The star of the video, Eve, is just the daughter of a friend, but she really got into it and was amazing. Some other friends let me take-over their house for a day of filming, and we had to gaffa-tape black curtains over their windows. I actually ended up building the manger from a pallet I found lying about. At times I wondered if it was all going to work out, but I couldn’t be happier with the end result.

“The real hope is that it makes people think and ask questions, and explore the Christian faith. Of course, people might end up seeing the video at a church service, but social media crucially allows you the opportunity to engage with people who might never darken a church door.”

Robin added: “It’s easy to forget that John Lewis would have had a huge budget and year-long team given over to producing their advert. What Dan’s done, in such a short space of time and with limited resources, is quite incredible. It’s a high quality production, and yet it’s got real but simple substance to it. And people value that. And ultimately Dan’s got us all together to make it happen because we long for people to discover that God has loved us by giving us his Son, Jesus.”

Already 2,500 people have visited the dedicated website, www.lovedthischristmas.com, which contains a download link so that individuals, churches, or other organisations can download a high-quality version of the video to show it offline, e.g. at Christmas services and events.

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For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager on 07469 153658, 01228 815401 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.