Thinkboxes March/April 2010 Winner: John Lewis’ 'Always a Woman' by adam&eveDDB

'Never knowingly undersold' has been a part of John Lewis' brand positioning for over 80 years. At the end of 2009, the retailer's marketing director Craig Inglis took a decision to relaunch the proposition to give it greater resonance with consumers.

The culmination of the relaunch campaign was this epic and emotional television ad, created by Adam & Eve. The 60-second spot was designed to reinforce John Lewis' long-standing commitment to deliver fair prices, excellent customer service and the highest quality across a wide range of products.

The execution charts a woman's life from infancy until she becomes a grandmother by depicting all the key events in which the retailer has played a part.

It is accompanied by a cover of the Billy Joel song She's Always A Woman, performed by Fyfe Dangerfield, lead singer of The Guillemots.

The academy judges were lavish in their praise. Peter Holmes of Telefonica, said: 'John Lewis nails the brand's longevity, simplicity and tone of voice brilliantly.'

Gerry Farrell at Leith added: 'John Lewis is seamless, effortless and emotional. It's the most talked-about (and wept-over) ad this year, and it was directed by the peerless Dougal Wilson, who turns everything he touches into gold.'


While we expected the ad to have an impact, we have been overwhelmed by the volume of responses and how deeply it has affected people.

Craig Inglis Director of Marketing, John Lewis

Client Craig Inglis; Ad Agency adam&eveDDB; Creative Team Ben Tollett, Emer Stamp, Matt Woolner, Steve Wioland; Production Blink; Director Dougal Wilson

Other ads on the podium Accidental Duet  (2nd)

  • Creative agency Mother
  • Creative team Mother
  • Client Katie Sheppard
  • Production company Academy
  • Director Si & Ad

Road Safety (Department for Transport): Named Riders  (3rd)

  • Creative agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
  • Creative team Phil Martin, Brian Campbell
  • Client Camilla Wilkinson
  • Production company Thomas Thomas
  • Director Kevin Thomas

Also shortlisted

Magners: Catch

  • Creative agency The Red Brick Road
  • Creative team Matt Lee, Pete Heyes
  • Client Rob Calder
  • Production company Stink
  • Director Ivan Zacharias

Warburtons: Take Off

  • Creative agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
  • Creative team Mark Roalfe, Mark Waldron, Dave Godfree
  • Client Richard Hayes
  • Production company Sonny London
  • Director Guy Manwaring

A view from a Thinkbox Academy member on this month's picks

The one that compelled me to watch it rather than make a cup of tea, the one that had my kids asking about the song and the one that made me look back at my own life: the John Lewis ad. This one continues the excellent campaign, right on target, perfect insight, beautifully shot with a hugely moving track.

Rosie Arnold Deputy Executive Creative Director

Click here to see who won the previous award

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