By Chris Beanland
Life-cycle: The £6m ad for John Lewis shows infancy, a birthday party, a clumsy kiss in a university corridor, marriage, parenthood and the path into old age
Sometimes we forget just how short and precious our time on this planet really is. It's for this reason that John Lewis's new television ad seems to have struck an uncharacteristic chord.
You won't find many people admitting to crying over the usual flood of formulaic adverts on our screens - yet this 'moving' ad has got Britain talking - and sobbing into their breakfast bowls.
At 91 seconds long, and costing £6million, the ad has been watched an incredible 100,000 times in the single week that it has been available on YouTube.
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The premise is simple - the life cycle of a woman from birth to old-age. But like all classic ads - and this is surely destined to become one - this simplicity is where its strength lies.
The ad shows infancy, a girl's birthday party, a clumsy kiss in a university corridor, marriage, pregnancy, parenthood and the path into old age.
It is similar to the stunning 'life-cycle' sequence in the animated Pixar film Up, which moved many to tears.
Hit: At 91 seconds long, and costing £6million, the ad has been watched an incredible 100,000 times in the single week that it has been available on YouTube
Marketing technique: The prop department only used products available to buy in store at John Lewis
Its score is a reinterpretation of Billy Joel's Always A Woman, performed by Fyfe Dangerfield, of the band Guillemots.
Dangerfield now plans to release the track on May 3 and it could be destined for the top of the charts.
Although some viewers may find it too sentimental, it's actually a pretty modern picture of Britain. There are matriarchal figures, multi-ethnic relationships and children among the expensive patio sets.
Its message is 'treasure life and your family'. But as one wag pointed out: why is the entire advert - which must span 70 years - set in a single era?
Treasure life: The entire advert which must span 70 years is however set in a single era
Production: The advert was made using nine actresses to play the woman from infancy to old age