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Bohemian Rhapsody

Industry: Culture, Recreation & Sport
Media:Ambient & Interactive
Style: Minimalism
Why is this work relevant for Entertainment Lions for Music?

The lengendary track 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was integral in providing a creative springboard for storytelling; it played a pivotal role in creating an overwhelmingly joyous film. We cast children from around the UK to learn the music, so they could sing and play it themselves - this authenticity added to the drama. Even Queen themselves listened to and approved the re-record of their sacred track.


The retail landscape has been a tricky landscape with the rise of online retailers and budget supermarkets. John Lewis and Waitrose were for the first time no longer the nations most loved brands. Our ambition was to change this. We needed to give people a reason to love us, trust us and be loyal to us again. We recognise in a changing world people will always want and value the personal, human connections.
So we brought the brands together for the first time, and celebrated what makes them different: their unique Partnership model where all people that work there are Partners and own the business.

Describe the creative idea

The film celebrates John Lewis and Waitrose’s key point of difference - a shared and unique Partnership model, where Partners own the business. We were exploring fun situations where characterful groups of people came together to do something interesting. A teacher and his class of children going above and beyond to create an incredible performance allowed us to create a sense of joy, energy and pride at being part of something special – much like the Partnership of John Lewis and Waitrose. It was a fun and dramatic analogy which everyone can relate to, with a sense of nostalgia.

Describe the strategy

As music was key to our emotional storytelling, it needed to be considered carefully. We needed a track that was a national treasure (much like John Lewis and Waitrose), which felt appropriate for two brands, whilst also showcasing the joy and energy that we wanted to portray in the ad. What better than Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, loved by both adults and children alike. The track consists of many layers, which was perfect for our idea of a school production – everyone coming together and doing their bit to produce a musical masterpiece. Guitarists, bassists, drummers, pianists, orchestral - we had over 300 children attend casting over a five day period. In the end, we cast 82 children. Truly an ensemble piece.

Describe the execution

The film first went live across social media on the morning of the 4th September, before premiering on TV during Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 that evening - with continued cut downs on VOD across other channels being shown until 15th October. This was further supported in cinemas from 7th September, with the ad featuring next to the 20th Century Fox film “Bohemian Rhapsody” trailers. Receiving much praise from PR and celebrities such as Queen and Brian May posting the film on their channels.

Describe the outcome

THE REACH was incredible, with the launch spot during the Great British Bake Off reaching 7.1mil adults (14% of ABC1 ads!). Supporting AV helped deliver further impact: the online film had 4.5 million views in 24 hours, and cinema delivered 771,338 admissions. The combined reach of TV, Cinema and BVOD meant the campaign hit 87.7% of ABC1 ads.

ENGAGEMENT on social media had 99% positive sentiment, and at launch it triple trended
on Twitter (#JohnLewis, #Waitrose, #BohemianRhapsody).

THE IMPACT saw praise from PR and celebrities such as Queen and Brian May posting the film. We even got a response from Prue Leith (GBBO judge) who praised the ad for it’s craft and emotive story. In cinema - an independent piece of research demonstrated that those exposed were more likely to consider John Lewis for future purchases, with an uplift of 26% in Brand Consideration.
Production Company:
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Bronze Entertainment Lions for Music
Use of Licensed / Adapted Music
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