Fans of a tear-jerking Christmas viral video made for just £50 are calling for John Lewis to hire the budget filmmaker for their next festive advert.
The short fictional tale racked up more than 5million views on Facebook this week after Phil Beastall posted it in response to the store’s big-budget production.
The 32-year-old’s video, entitled Love is a Gift, shows a man – played by actor Chris Ilston – ticking off the days to Christmas, seemingly in anticipation of festivities and presents.
Instead, on the day, he opens up a cassette box – an annual tradition – and listens to a tape of his tragic mother’s final Christmas message from beyond the grave.
Since the emotional tale went viral, Mr Beastall has been inundated with messages from fans who claim the video could have been used instead of the expensive Elton John-themed John Lewis advert.
Fans of a tear-jerking Christmas viral video made for just £50 are calling for John Lewis to hire the budget filmmaker for their next festive advert. Above, a scene from the ad, which is called Love is a Gift. (Above, actor Chris Ilston)
The 2minute 27 second fictional tale shows a man ticking off the days to Christmas, seemingly in anticipation of festivities and presents
Instead, on the day, he opens up a cassette box – an annual tradition – and listens to a tape of his tragic mother’s final Christmas message from beyond the grave
The short film racked up more than 5m views on Facebook this week after its creator, Phil Beastall, posted it in response to the store’s big-budget production
Others have suggested the store hire Mr Beastall to make their Christmas advert for 2019.
Mr Beastall, from Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, said: ‘People seem to like my film because it’s the story that shines through. You don’t always need a huge budget, just an impactful narrative that gets the message across.
‘I think there’s a bit of a revolution going on in the advertising industry. People no longer want to be overtly sold something which makes our job as video producers a lot harder because we have to sell indirectly.
‘But the good thing about this is that when selling to consumers, we can focus on selling lifestyles and indirectly sell the products or services that fit that lifestyle.
Mr Beastall, from Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, made the video in 2014 but was inspired to share it again now after seeing the Elton John advert on TV. Above, tapes the ad’s character has listened to over the years – culminating in one from 2014, when he is aged 30. His mother’s voice says: ‘So this is it. My last tape. I wish I could keep talking to you every Christmas – but it’s time to say goodbye’
‘A lot of people are struggling financially so to hear that millions is being spent on these campaigns isn’t sitting well with people.
‘People have been saying that it’s just an opportunity to celebrate Elton John and promote his new film.
‘Having said that, I enjoyed John Lewis’s advert. I liked the fact that a success story like Elton’s can start with something as simple as receiving a piano. But if John Lewis knocked on my door tomorrow and said would you want to make next year’s film, I would obviously snap it up in an instant.’
Thousands of commenters praised the video online and admitted that it had reduced them to tears.
Since the emotional tale went viral, Mr Beastall has been inundated with messages from fans who claim the video could have been used instead of the expensive Elton John-themed John Lewis advert
Melanie Thomas wrote: ‘In tear. I have no words except John Lewis, tell your advertising team they [are] sacked. Stop plugging Elton John’s song and get this man to do your adverts.’
Lisa Darling said: ‘Best advert ever, maybe John Lewis should pay him a million.’
The response was so overwhelming that Mr Beastall conceded defeat in trying to respond to all the comments because the video attracted so much attention.
Mr Beastall, a professional videographer, dedicated the emotive video to the selflessness of his partner of ten years Claire Higley, the mother of their children Ethan, Eliza and Zara. (The couple are pictured together)
Most touchingly, he received messages of thanks from parents who have lost a child and also children whose parents are no longer alive as the video had had a positive impact on them.
Mr Beastall said: ‘A lot of people are saying how it has touched them and made them feel that they can cope a little bit more this Christmas, which is amazing. I never expected that at all. To think people are getting so much from my film. I am blown away.’
He made the video in 2014 but was inspired to share it again now after seeing the Elton John advert on TV.
While the John Lewis ad showcases the goal-driven, hectic world around us, Mr Beastall hopes his video encourages those who watch it to appreciate every day they have with family.
He said: ‘I wanted people to watch it and really reflect on what they have around them and take a moment to appreciate how lucky we are.
‘In today’s society it can be quite easy to forget what we have got because we are so wrapped up in chasing a dream and a goal many years from now which may not end up happening.
‘Whereas actually what I think we should be doing is enjoying the journey. I would love people to say it reminds them how lucky they are to be alive and to turn to the person next to them like their partner or their mum or dad and just give them a hug and tell them they love them.
‘Life can be tough, really tough and we are all trying to earn an honest living. It is quite easy to forget sometimes that we are simply human with emotions and we’re not defined by our careers or the materialistic side of things.
‘Everyone just needs a bit of love in their life and we should all try to look after each other. The John Lewis advert cost £7million to make – a fortune compared to the small-budget production Love is a Gift, which cost less than £50.
The professional videographer dedicated the emotive video to the selflessness of his partner of ten years Claire Higley, the mother of their children Ethan, Eliza and Zara.
The man in the video has to finally let go of his mother on the most family-orientated of days and Mr Beastall wanted to celebrate the life that has rewarded him with his wife and mother to his children.
He said: ‘I would say this even if I was not with Claire, but she is the most selfless person I have ever met.
‘Every decision she makes is with other people in mind and it is relentless. She is the best mum for my kids and I am so lucky to have her because I know that the experience that my kids get would not be anywhere near what it is now if it was not for her.
‘It is crazy how much she puts into our kids and I always tell her that they are going to grow up and look back and realise just how lucky they were to have her.
‘She has completely transformed me as a person and I look back on who I was when I headed to university and realise how single-layered I was.
‘She has really changed my attitude and made me see the magic in life, Christmas and the kids.’
John Lewis declined to comment.