John Lewis Buster The Boxer

For larger brands, like John Lewis, Christmas offers a signature time to show off with huge-budget, creative TV campaigns which can steal the attention from actual programmes and become a phenomenon in their own right.

Successful ads

The scale and popularity of these adverts can be a hit in sealing the firm’s reputation for the year – and result in a festive sales boost – or a miss if it fails to connect with the public. In the run up to Christmas, Igniyte will summarise three successful ads and what they show about the reputation of the wider brand.

‘Successful’ ads can be defined in a number of ways. Acknowledgement from industry leading titles, such as Campaign, are one sign of this, while another mark of success in any multi-media marketing campaign is arguable in social media sharing.

John Lewis spectacular

Combining both of the above, this year’s seasonal spectacular from John Lewis has not only featured near constantly in key titles, but has also officially become 2016’s most shared ad of the year. The aforementioned article goes on to note that the ad is not only John Lewis’s most shared ever, it’s also firmly set as the fifth most shared Holiday advertisement of all time, competing with international brand giants such as Nike and the Super Bowl.

For a comparatively small British department store, this is an extraordinary achievement, especially since the ad took a dramatic turn from the firm’s (tried & tested) ads formulae in recent years.

From lonely penguins, to an isolated man on the moon, to a following a woman from birth to old age, John Lewis adverts – though touching – often fall into the tear-jerkerly emotional category. This year however, with a radical change of direction, the brand’s ad agency Adam & Eve DDB opted for an upbeat, fun visual film featuring a dog called Buster.

Using the magic of CGI, the ad creates the illusion of a boxer (and woodland creatures) being captivated by a trampoline. The animals’ reactions are akin to those of a young child awaking to such a magnificent gift on Christmas Day.

Brand tool

The ad embodies wonderment and ‘the cute factor’ as people all over the world have fallen in love with Buster, as evidenced by the 7,000 comments left on YouTube for the above video. At the same time, John Lewis hasn’t lost any of its brand messaging as the ad still connects well with its target audience of middle-class suburban families. After all, who else would have the physical space, requirement or pester-power needed to purchase a trampoline?

With both media and retail shifting more than any period in history, it’s a mark of the strength of the John Lewis brand to use, essentially, TV advertising so effectively to gain an unwavering abundance of admirers.

Though it’s true the brand also used a Twitter promoted hashtag and sponsored Snapchat filter (in addition to paid posts on Facebook, Twitter and beyond) upon its initial screenings, this doesn’t detract from the brand understand its core audience, potential audience and media diversification.

The investment in advertising here reaps unchartered rewards in terms of sustaining a genuinely favourable and positive public reputation, which creates longevity the brand builds on year after year.