WHAT: British retailer John Lewis’s 2016 Christmas campaign, starring Buster the Boxer
WHO: John Lewis, adam&eveDDB
WHY WE CARE: John Lewis, current reigning champion, and in fact primary instigator of the Christmas Super Bowl of British Advertising season, has delivered its 2016 Christmas spot. Oh, the speculation prior to this moment; would the soundtrack be a David Bowie song? Or, maybe Prince? Will it be as much of a tearjerker as last year’s "Man on the Moon"? Anticipation reached such heights that some people mistook the work of a media studies schoolboy for the real thing.
Throughout the last week or so, teasers featuring a little girl bouncing on various objects, such as a bed, and a Space Hopper, while being observed by a boxer dog, were released. The hashtag #bouncebounce also gave a taste of what was to come. The full two-minute long ad dropped today, and it tells the simple story of a little girl who loves jumping and wants a trampoline for Christmas. She gets one, but an array of U.K. woodland wildlife gets there before her. So does Buster the Boxer, who was rather envious of the nocturnal antics of the local creatures.
It has not gone unnoticed by John Lewis that 2016 has been, as it said in a statement, "quite a year," so the retailer took a deliberately less emotional tone this year, and just hopes the ad will "make people smile." Although reception has been mixed so far (what ad could ever meet the expectation to which this one is subjected every year?) it is certainly raising smiles for lots of people, and a Buster the Boxer Snapchat lens will no doubt be fun too.
The ad was directed by the highly regarded Dougal Wilson, who helmed the three previous spots for the retailer, including 2011’s "The Long Wait," 2012’s "The Journey," and 2014’s "Monty’s Christmas." In 2013 the brand ran "The Bear and the Hare," an animated spot. The soundtrack is a cover of Randy Crawford’s 1980 track, One Day I’ll Fly Away, performed by British brand, The Vaults. As usual, the campaign ties in with a charity, and this year it's The Wildlife Trusts, which will receive a donation from the profits of soft toy versions of the CGI animals seen in the film.
Is it enough to shift the global mood? Of course not, it’s just an ad. But perhaps it can remind us that gentler, kinder things still exist and will continue to do so.