OK, so I think we can all agree it’s been a pretty tough week.
But let’s swiftly move past our planet’s political uncertainty because guess what..?
The John Lewis advert is here!
Christmas countdowns, social networks and even Santa’s elves were thrown out of kilter when this year’s offering – Buster the Boxer – arrived a day earlier than anticipated. They knew we needed it, am I right?
While communications agency adam&eveDDB have remained at the helm of John Lewis’ festive ads for the past few years now, Buster The Boxer marks the return of Dougal Wilson – director of 2011’s ‘The Wait’, 2012’s ‘The Journey’ and 2014’s ‘Monty the Penguin’.
So if like me, you prepared yourself for a complete tear-jerker, then you were left a little surprised (or even disappointed?).
This year’s story follows a little girl called Bridget and her dog, Buster the Boxer (funny that).
As young Bridget loves jumping – on her bed, the sofa, luckily not the coffee table – her parents decide to buy her a trampoline for Christmas.
Carefully assembled in the back garden with an inconspicuous red bow (“she’ll never see it now”), a rather diverse group of wildlife animals discover Bridget’s present and start bouncing through the night fall.
Customer director at John Lewis, Craig Inglis said: “2016 has certainly been quite a year, so we hope our advert will make people smile.
“It really embraces a sense of fun and magic, reminding everyone what it feels to give the perfect gift at Christmas.”
OK, I’ve softened to it a little. Maybe it’s Christmas spirit or something.
But in truth it’s not the advert I’m truly interested in, it’s the campaign running with it (shock horror).
While this year’s ad lacks the tears, telescopes and subtle message – looking after the elderly – of 2015’s ‘The Man on the Moon’, it’s promotional campaign and use of social media is one of the cleverest yet.
Three days before the ad’s release, a series of ten-second teasers were released on Twitter and the snippets of Buster and Bridget were accompanied with a simple hashtag #BounceBounce – while the teasers lacked branding or verification, they still secured a viral position throughout the week. Don’t you wish your tweets could do that?
Warming up the audience was certainly working and by Thursday, social media was buzzing with speculation about the ad, its song and the narrative. So John Lewis went ahead and surprised us with its release. No big deal or anything.
It’s a tactic I believe will become more prevalent in the future. While audiences love spoilers and the hype that comes with Christmas, annual campaigns like that of John Lewis are starting to become expected – and there’s a danger that they can become stale. If campaigns are going to deliver their desired impact, they need to stay one step ahead.
The campaign also branched off in another new direction this year – with the use of Snapchat filters. While it only lasted 24 hours, the filter drove traffic (particularly younger audiences) towards the new ad and showcased the strategic approach taken to make the campaign a success. By using Snapchat – one of the fastest growing social networks – John Lewis are building strong foundations within the younger, digital market. Clever eh?
Admittedly, this year’s advert isn’t my favourite (I’ve never been one for dogs, or trampolines for that matter). But the multi-platform strategy and campaign behind the ad will surely cement adam&eveDDB a ‘Christmas Campaign of the Year’ title and earn them the job this time next year.
Perhaps we’ll see some of A-Level student Nick Jablonka’s work? Who knows.