New John Lewis Christmas advert revealed - but will it warm as many hearts as last year's weepie?

The eagerly-awaited 90-second commercial could propel young singer Gabrielle Aplin to worldwide stardom

The battle of the best Christmas advert has well and truly begun, with John Lewis revealing its festive commercial starring a charming snowman and a sweet cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's 'Power of Love'.

The 90 second commercial features a snowman battling his way through a herd of sheep, ferocious weather conditions and the M1 with an unknown motive which is only revealed at the end.

Lending musical accompaniment is Gabrielle Aplin, a 20 year old singer with her own channel on YouTube, who sings a stripped back version of 'The Power of Love' that is surely destined to be a chart smash.

John Lewis has a hard act to follow after last year's effort. The award winning advert of Christmas 2011 was a massive worldwide smash with more than 4.3 million views on YouTube. Thousands took to Twitter to say they were moved to tears.

This year's ad delivers on a similar theme, said Craig Inglis, John Lewis' marketing director.

He said: “We know that our customers put real effort and emotion into finding the perfect gift for their loved ones at Christmas.”

The commercial, titled 'The Journey', is directed by Dougal Wilson, who was the mastermind behind last year's Christmas ad and the spring 2010 'Always A Woman' campaign.

Last year's Christmas advert amassed over 4 million views on YouTube, won awards and reduced viewers to tears (John …

Other retailers have launched their Christmas campaigns, with Marks and Spencer deciding to omit its usual host of celebrities, while Waitrose unveiled a pared back advert featuring Heston Blumenthal and Delia Smith.

Asda has come under fire for its advert, which stars a young mother running errands, frantically writing cards and slaving over Christmas lunch. 

So far, 160 complaints have been made to the Advertising Standards Agency, as Twitter and Facebook users voicing concerns that the 'Behind every great Christmas there's Mum' strapline could reinforce negative gender stereotypes.

John Lewis, Britain's biggest department store, has forecast another strong Christmas - even though its competitors are still struggling with the economic downturn.