A heartbreaking Christmas advert that was made for just £50 (AU$89) has left viewers in floods of tears as it goes viral right across the world – with many claiming it’s better than the big budget John Lewis advert.
Independent filmmaker Phil Beastall shared his short video – which he actually made in 2014 – on social media shortly after UK retailer John Lewis released their own, which focuses this year on the life of music great Sir Elton John.
Within days, it has gained millions of views on Facebook alone, with many fans claiming John Lewis and other big budget retailers should hire him for their ads next year.
The advert, named ‘Love is a Gift’, focuses on a young man living on his own as he counts down the days to Christmas Day. While crossing off each one, a single gift can be seen under his Christmas tree – untouched until December 25.
The footage soon cuts to him waking up and sitting down at his kitchen table in front of a cassette player, with a box full of cassettes open in front of him. Playing one, his late mother’s voice plays out from beyond the grave with a moving message for her son.
“Thank you for taking the time to remember me. After all these years. I can’t believe you’re going to be 30 soon,” she is heard saying.
Sadly, in a moment that echos hit movie PS. I Love You, she reveals this tape will be the last one as she tells him: “So this is it. My last tape. I wish I could keep talking to you every Christmas, but it’s time to say goodbye.
“Just remember how much I love you. I will always be your mum.”
The advert slowly fades away as she tells her son she wants to recount one final story to him – that of the day he was born.
The filmmaker has been gobsmacked by the reaction to the video since, and told ITV News: “For me it’s a reminder that story is key. You can have all the bells and whistles in the world but if your story is weak it won’t connect with people.”
The video stars actor Chris Ilston and features the voice of Natalie Martins.
Fans couldn’t wait to share their shock at the beauty of the footage, with one commenting on Twitter: “Now THAT is a Christmas advert. No pandering to a pampered pop star; no emphasis on luxury/elitist, overpriced and unnecessary gifts; no fake ‘happy families’. Just pure, raw emotion to tug on the heartstrings. @jlandpartners marketing ‘experts’ should watch and weep.”
Another added: “Very sad advert brought tears to my eyes as my mam died a year ago next sat and I be alone at Xmas,” and one wrote: “I lost my mum in August. This hit home. I would love just one tape… x.”
And another viewer commented: “I’m in pieces, but in a good way. Thank you for bringing Mum & Dad back, even if it was just for a moment. Beautiful.”