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November 19, 2015

Happy Capitalistmas

By Jim Garside, Time to Shine Administration Officer 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – or so marketers would have you believe – and nothing heralds the start of the holiday shopping season quite like the John Lewis Christmas advert.

This year the department store has partnered with national charity Age UK for a £7m campaign that aims to raise awareness of loneliness and social isolation among older people.

According to Age UK over one million older people haven’t spoken to a friend, neighbour or family member for at least a month and most of them will be alone this Christmas.

It’s great that loneliness and social isolation are on the agenda and that there has been an upsurge of volunteers for older people’s charities since the launch of the ad.

But it’s important that we have positive representations of older people in the media and that this message doesn’t get co-opted.

Lonely and socially isolated people are also the hardest to reach – even if they’re not on the moon.

In the advert, reminiscent of Pixar’s ‘Up’, a young girl called Lily spies through her telescope a lonely-looking elderly man who lives by himself on the moon.

After Lily’s failed attempts to befriend the man, by sending him a message, she sends him a Christmas present tied to floating balloons. 
It’s a telescope – tears run down the man’s check as they wave to each other – so that he can watch her enjoy Christmas with her family and friends below.

The advert ends with the tagline: “Show someone they’re loved this Christmas.”

So what’s your opinion? Does this raise awareness of loneliness and social isolation? Would a £7m donation from John Lewis to Age UK have made a better present? Can you believe they put a man on the moon? I’d especially love to hear from older people about how they feel about the advert. Please email or call me on 0113 244 1697 with your views.

To support Age UK and their wider ‘No one should have no one at Christmas’ campaign visit: