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John Lewis Christmas advert 2013 debuts online

The animated advert features Lily Allen singing 'Somewhere Only We Know'

Forget “Holidays are coming”, it’s the John Lewis advert that really tells us when Christmas is on its way.

The department store has released its anticipated Christmas advert “The Bear & The Hare” today, which uses animation for the first time.

The £7 million Christmas campaign is the latest from John Lewis, following a string of popular tear-jerking seasonal adverts.

Set to a cover of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know” with vocals by Lily Allen, the advert follows the story of a hibernating bear, and his friend the hare who is sad to hear he will sleep through Christmas.

The hare decides to bring the sleeping bear a present, and he soon perks up to join the other woodland animals around the Christmas tree. The advert ends with the strapline “Give someone a Christmas they’ll never forget.”

The advert will premiere on television during Saturday night’s X Factor, with a two minute ad break dedicated to the short film.

John Lewis has a hard act to follow after last year’s “The  Journey”, which followed the story of two reunited snowmen set to “The Power of Love” sung by Gabrielle Alpin.

It also faces competition this year from M&S's Tim Burton-esque ad featuring Helena Bonham Carter, David Gandy and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, as well as Cadbury's 'wrapped up' offering.

"The Bear & The Hare" has already had a positive response from viewers, with one writing: “Another fantastic Christmas ad- there’s not a dry eye in the house.”

However, some said it did not live up to last year’s. One commenter said: “It is sweet and clearly well thought out, but I’m afraid not a patch on last year for me….sorry.”

John McDonnell MP had other ideas about the film. The Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington commented: "To make it a real Christmas story, this Christmas make sure all of your contractors' staff that clean and service your stores are paid a living wage and recognise the IWW trade union."