John Lewis advert: Together In Electric Dreams a nightmare choice for Sheffield

When Human League star Phil Oakey sang Together In Electric Dreams with Giorgio Moroder in 1984, John Lewis had a store in Sheffield.

By Rob Hollingworth
Thursday, 4th November 2021, 1:39 pm

Fast forward to 2021 and the song is being used by the retailer in its Christmas advert, sung by Lola Young, as customer director Claire Pointon said: “We know our customers are excited for this festive season more than ever, as they reconnect with family and friends.”

But they won’t be reconnecting in the Sheffield store because the Barkers Pool site is closed and looking distinctly unfestive. So to choose a song made famous by a Sheffielder feels like taking John Lewis is taking the mickey.

Titled Unexpected Guest, the two-minute ad stars space traveller Skye crash-landing at the height of festivities in the woods near the home of 14-year-old Nathan, who introduces her to the traditions of eating mince pies, decorating the tree and wearing novelty jumpers.

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The John Lewis store in Sheffield city centre

Which is all very jolly but doesn’t get round the fact that John Lewis turned its back on Sheffield and the loyal workforce renowned for their customer service.

Ms Pointon has some lovely things to say about the ad. "There is nothing more magical than discovering the joy of Christmas for the first time and enjoying your favourite festive moments with loved ones.

"After the last 18 months, we wanted our advert to really celebrate this as we look forward to a brighter future.”

Not in Sheffield, you won’t. The only brighter future comes from a global sports brand plan for a ‘home of football’ in Sheffield’s John Lewis building – including pitches on the roof.

That’s got nothing to do with John Lewis but everything to do with our city, famous for being the home of football and for being creative. The sort of creativity which made the Human League global stars and led to Phil Oakey making Living In Electric Dreams a hit.

Now being used for the Christmas ad, it feels like a slap in the face for Sheffield.

Makes you wonder why the ad didn’t use the Human League classic Don’t You Want Me Baby? Then again, we all know the answer to that.