Every year the man with the Twitter handle @johnlewis
is swamped with tweets about the department store’s famous Christmas ad. Until now the American lecturer, who has no connection to the British retail brand, has fended off the excitement with patience, calmly pointing people in the right direction. But this year he finally has his own Christmas ad.
For a festive campaign of its own Twitter UK has enlisted the help of the ‘real’ John Lewis, who receives more than 50,000 tweets a year intended for the department store, to appear in a comedy Christmas campaign playing on his mistaken identity.
A computer science lecturer at Virginia Tech university (and obviously an early adopter), John Lewis has used the Twitter handle @johnlewis since 2007. Surprisingly he claims that the store, which uses @jlandpartners
as its handle, has never offered to buy it from him. He has about 43,000 Twitter followers, more than double that of the store’s official customer service Twitter feed, @jlandpcustserv
So what does the man himself make of it all? John Lewis said: “I think it’s hilarious that people mistake me for the UK store and I do my best to direct them to the right place. I see a massive spike in Tweets at this time of year and I always watch the John Lewis advert, especially as it becomes a huge part of my Twitter conversation. I find it absolutely fascinating that Twitter UK has chosen me to star in their Christmas film. Hopefully people will be kind about my acting skills, I am no Elton John but who knows maybe I’ll get Tweets about my own film this year.”
But while he may consider himself 'no Elton John', in a heartwarming bit of rare Twitter loveliness Elton (or his social media team), tweeted John last week, leading Mr Lewis to say 'I can now die happy'.
David Wilding, Director of Planning at Twitter UK said: “Twitter is full of amazing stories and @JohnLewis is one of our favourites. His open, honest and funny responses really capture the spirit of Twitter at Christmas and we wanted to create this film tell his story. Twitter is a platform that allows anyone to join the conversation, even if it’s by mistake.”
The ad gives a nod to recent John Lewis Christmas ads with subtle clues including a telescope, a miniature moon ornament, Monty the penguin and Buster the boxer.
Twitter put the video out on social media today with the hashtag #NotARetailStore, echoing the lecturer’s description on the platform: “Computer science educator, father of four, social liberal, atheist, and not a retail store.”
The campaign was created by The Romans and was produced by Agile Films