The beginning of November is the time when the big UK retailers traditionally launch their highly-anticipated Christmas ads. The upmarket UK department store John Lewis's Christmas ads have become world famous (see last year's here), so there was great excitement when this 'John Lewis ad 2015' appeared on YouTube a couple of days ago. However, it wasn't what most people were expecting. In fact, it's from another company whose full name is John Lewis of Hungerford. Rather naughtily, they'd omitted the 'of Hungerford' bit of their name. Still, it's a charming ad and one that can be used in the classroom (see below for some teaching ideas).
1. Put students in pairs. Student A watches the ad while Student B closes (or covers) their eyes. Stop the ad at 45s. Now, student A has to tell student B what they saw in as much detail as possible. Now show the ad once more, again stopping at the 45s mark and get the class to guess what the ad is for.
2. After the pairwork activity, you could do some more intensive work on the vocabulary (see list below). For example, give the students the list and get them to tick off the items as they watch.
3. As a follow up, get students to write out the recipe for cupcakes.
4. Students discuss their favourite recipes, cooking skills, etc. etc.
5. For business English students, you could analyze the ad from a marketing point of view. What techniques are used? What's the message? How effective is the ad? Is it acceptable to deliberately mislead people by letting them think it's the real John Lewis ad?
stand on (a chair), apron, mixing bowl, ingredients, crack, sieve (noun), cupcake cases, butter, eggs, sugar, pour, mix, sieve (verb), wooden spoon, sprinkle (verb), baking pan, oven, kettle, frosting, buttercream, spoon (noun), spoon (verb), sprinkles (noun), Christmas tree.
• The John Lewis Christmas advert 2015 is FINALLY here – but don’t get your hopes up (Metro.co.uk)
• Here's a Christmas Ad From Another John Lewis (Creativity)
• TMW reveals John Lewis ad – but not that John Lewis (DecisionMarketing)
• John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015 - #ManOnTheMoon (the real one!)