Credit: Via Youtube

John Lewis ad row: “What’s the creepy obsession with putting kids in Drag?” 

British retailer John Lewis is famed for its advertising prowess, and the company’s Christmas ad is usually revealed to acclaim. 

But the retailer’s new advert for John Lewis Home Insurance has come under fire, as viewers take issue with the brattish behaviour of a boy dressed in drag causing havoc in the  house.

As of today, the video has more than twice as many dislikes as likes on You Tube, with most comments also taking issue with the ad.

With more than 2800 thumbs down against just 1100 thumbs up, John Lewis looks to have badly  misjudged its base with the message.


Several commentators took issue with what they called a “creepy obsession with putting kids in drag”.

“What is the creepy obsession with putting kids in Drag? It’s disturbing. Drag is for adults, especially when it has sexual undertones as it usually does. Bad decision John Lewis. Plus the kid is a brat. But that’s ok because he’s wearing his mum’s dress and make-up while he’s trashing the house?,” wrote one post.

“Any chance a company can sell us a product nowadays without ramming some kind of agenda down our throats?” said another.

Journalist Isabel Oakeshott tweeted that “Shoppers don’t want crass cultural lectures from department stores!”


Another You Tube comment said: “Dear god, you really have lost sight of your customer base, haven’t you? What are you attempting [to] do? Jump on the delusional bandwagon, by any chance?”

Others took exception to the behaviour of the star of the advert, especially towards his mum and sister.

“Are JL saying their home insurance covers wilful damage by a family member? According to their own t&c’s this kind of damage is excluded,” said one commentator.

“Terrible behaviour. Cute kid but why are you encouraging such spoilt, entitled, destructive behaviour?” said another.

“Surely your home insurance doesn’t  cover you for wilful damage, which this looks to be? Spoilt boy goes round the house trashing it and nobody stops him. Tell that to the insurance company and see if they wear it. That’s before we even get to the bullying of the sister & the message that sends out, “one viewer complained.

Defending the advert, John Lewis said: “Although many children do dress up and dance around their homes the advert is a dramatic, fictional story created to entertain. We hope our customers will appreciate this ad in the spirit it was intended.”

Some comments were also positive, describing the advert as “fun” and “light hearted”.

The row reminded some commentators of a similar backlash against Gillette when an advert  which many saw as casting all men in a negative light racked up a colossal 1.5 million dislikes. Gillette’s “We Believe” video was believed by some to be a massive marketing blunder and a factor in a massive $8 billion write-down by parent company Proctor and Gamble.

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