John Lewis Christmas Advertising - Buster the Dog

In recent years, John Lewis’ Christmas advertising has become synonymous with the countdown to Christmas. This year was no different, although the high street retailer made a bold departure from its usual weepy emotional advertising to a more fun and action-orientated ad called ‘Buster the Boxer’.


The Plot

This year’s advert tells the story of a little girl called Bridget. Her parents buy her a trampoline and set it in the garden on Christmas Eve. But as darkness falls animals emerge from the garden including foxes, a badger, a squirrel, and a hedgehog – who discover the trampoline. Meanwhile, Bridget’s boxer dog ‘Buster’ looks on enviously as the animals have fun on the trampoline. The surprise moment though is on Christmas morning, as Bridget excitedly runs out into the garden to discover her gift, but Buster beats her to it and excitedly bounces on her trampoline while the family look on in disbelief.

Using our AdProbe advertising pre-testing research method we conducted a monadic test on each execution via an online survey amongst target market shoppers.

Our method also incorporated eye-tracking technology that measured emotional responses to the advert in real-time.

Research Findings:

We also conducted a survey among members of the public using our AdProbe advertising evaluation research tool. This showed that Buster The Boxer was as strong, if not stronger than in previous years. For the last 5 years, John Lewis’ Christmas advertising has consistently shown high levels of impact and attention-grabbing qualities. However, these adverts is strongest in terms of being original and different compared with the last few years.

Music always plays an important part of their advertising and this year was no different. Previous executions all included acoustic covers of ballads by Ellie Goulding, Gabrielle Aplin, Tom Odell and Aurora – and this year includes the jazz hit ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’ originally made famous by American singer Randy Crawford, The music was again very well received and achieved similar levels to MontyThePenguin advert featuring Tom O’Dell.

We could really be a nation of dog lovers, as this year’s Buster the Dog advert actually recorded the highest level of Buzz for any John Lewis advert we’ve tested suggesting that people will talk and help promote this advert – which is known to be an important part of overall advertising effectiveness.

So which is the best Christmas Advert from John Lewis?

Well according to our metrics these indicate that Buster is the most effective to date – unfortunately last year’s #ManOnTheMoon was the weakest! (Which might explain why this year John Lewis reverted to Dougal Wilson who was behind ‘Monty the Penguin’ and two others?).

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