Instead of focusing on John Lewis, John Lewis is focused on the reader. This engenders trust.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the video is its use of pathos to induce consumers into developing a relationship with John Lewis. There is a subtle sexuality in the marketing campaign, via the polarization of “you” and “me,” the author. In the video, a romantic Billy Joel song, which has nothing to do with a family, is juxtaposed over the scenes of the woman. It should be noted that in the video, men are rarely shown at all; they play supporting roles at best. The ancillary presence of males in the video does suggest that the target audience is not just working-class white Americans but mainly white American females with traditional family values. At no point in the video is any non-conformist ideal supported.
Terms like “value” and “commitment” are emphasized throughout both the video and the Web text. The phrase “Never Knowingly Undersold” implies trust also, as the author admits to the audience that the company would not “intentionally” or “knowingly” try and rip off the consumer.
Stressing value, the company is seducing Americans who are concerned with saving money; John Lewis is not trying to sell luxury items here but standard objects. In fact, the video and the Web site both do not mention exactly what the company sells. Viewers simply are left longing for something that John Lewis can sell that might create a sense of “home,” “family,” or “belonging,” which are the core emotional values conveyed by both the immediate and cultural context. John Lewiss marketing campaigns are tremendously effective because of the skillful conveyance of core values.
“John Lewis TV Ad: Never Knowingly Undersold.” Retrieved online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMtyOCoqHTk
Lewis, John. “Never Knowingly Undersold.” Retrieved online: http://www.johnlewis.com/Magazine/Feature.aspx?Id=517.