A man who lives on the moon is the central character of this year’s Christmas advert from John Lewis, which aims to raise awareness of the issue of loneliness among older people.
The two-minute advert features the story of a young girl named Lily as she strikes up a connection with the man, who she spies through her telescope living alone on the moon.
Lily sets out to wish him a merry Christmas, finally succeeding by sending up the present of a telescope of his own tied to a bunch of balloons.
The advert ends with the strapline “Show someone they’re loved this Christmas” and was watched about 5.9 million times within the first 24 hours of it appearing on YouTube
Within a day of its release on Friday, organisations caring for the elderly were inundated with support with the advert racking up almost six million hits online.
Older people’s charity Independent Age saw a 600 per cent increase in inquiries, with 370 volunteers offering their support on Friday compared with the daily average of 60.
Director of policy Simon Bottery said: “There has been a huge increase in inquiries from volunteers. It was not just down to the John Lewis ad but also a story on Channel 4 News about isolation, which went viral too.
“It was a perfect storm. It’s fantastic that people are so motivated by campaigns like this but the challenge for charities is finding a way to translate that enthusiasm into swift action. People watch the ad and then want to visit a lonely person next week. It’s not always as simple as that. There are processes to go through.”
Age UK’s charity director Caroline Abrahams added: “We can all play a part in helping to tackle loneliness and we hope this activity with John Lewis and our ‘No one should have no one’ campaign will encourage people to reach out to older family members, friends and neighbours over the cold winter months.”
More than 70,000 people tweeted using the hashtag #manonthemoon, with overall opinion seeming to confirm that the retailer had once again succeeded in creating goosebumps and wet eyes across the nation.