Morrissey allows John Lewis to use Smiths track for Christmas ad campaign
HIS lyrics are not usually associated with festive cheer, but Morrissey has permitted department store John Lewis to use a song by The Smiths for its Christmas advert.
The famously curmudgeonly singer has given his blessing for a cover version of Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want to feature on the chain’s £6m television advertising campaign.
The track will be performed by Slow Moving Millie, a relatively unknown musician and actor whose real name is Amelia Warner and was once briefly married to the Hollywood actor Colin Farrell.
The advert will first go out on Facebook and YouTube on Friday, followed by a series of prime time slots over the next five weeks, including a break during The X Factor on Saturday night.
Created by advertising agency Adam & Eve and directed by Dougal Wilson, it focuses on the joy of giving loved ones the perfect present at Christmas time.
The song will appear on 90, 60, 30 and 20-second versions of the advert, which features the slogan: “John Lewis: for gifts you can’t wait to give.”
Craig Inglis, John Lewis’s marketing director, said Morrissey was “delighted” that the chain was using the track, which was released as the B-side on The Smiths’ single William, It Was Really Nothing in 1984.
“It wasn’t a long and difficult road actually. It was relatively straightforward getting the rights,” he said.
“We approached the record company and Morrissey back in July, and they gave their approval. It is an iconic track from an iconic British band.
“We know our audience holds The Smiths and bands from that era in high esteem.”
He added: “It’s a magical feeling when you find that perfect present for someone; there’s a great sense of anticipation from the moment you buy it to the moment you give the gift on the big day.
“That feeling is exactly what we’ve tried to capture with this year’s Christmas campaign.”
Ruth Paterson, head of marketing at Rough Trade, the record label which released most of The Smiths’ work, said she was entertained by the collaboration.
“I do like the idea of a really good song by a really good band being played in Middle England’s living rooms,” she told The Times.
“I’m sure that wasn’t the song’s intended purpose, but I think that’s a good thing.”
The deal is likely to provide a substantial pecuniary boost for Morrissey, 52, who is revered as one of the most influential rock lyricists of all time, first as frontman in The Smiths and then as a solo artists after they disbanded in 1987.
The retailer’s festive marketing campaigns are traditionally eagerly-awaited productions, with last year’s TV ad featuring Ellie Goulding singing Elton John’s Your Song.
Director Wilson has worked with John Lewis in the past, and was responsible for the retailer’s popular Never Knowingly Undersold advert in spring 2010, featuring the Billy Joel hit Always a Woman, performed by Fyfe Dangerfield from the Guillemots.