What John Lewis (and a lovable Boxer dog) can teach us

The 2016 John Lewis Christmas advert was nothing short of a triumph – in my world, it’s the official start of the festive season and it was brilliant. But it’s brilliant in ways you might not imagine. See, as much as I love to see a Boxer called Buster and a load of woodland creatures have a great time on a trampoline, the complete campaign was nothing short of a work of genius. Actually, I loved it so much, I made a video about it…

What the John Lewis Christmas advert can teach us

On face value, the advert ticks all the boxes – it’s relatable (putting up trampolines is hard. Really hard), it has product placement (everywhere), it was funny (who doesn’t love a bouncing hedgehog?), it had an unexpected twist (who knew Boxers were so good on trampolines). The soundtrack was lovely, the #tag was lovely, everyone was talking about it….tick, tick, tick, tick, TICK.

Now we delve deeper.

Did you know that a whole product range was created around the ad and that 10% of sales from the cuddly toys went to The Wildlife Trusts? That they employed Oculus technology in some of their stores to allow people to explore Buster’s garden using virtual reality? That they had Snapchat filters created for Buster’s garden? That they worked with The Wildlife Trust to allow us normal folk to get a better understanding of what’s going on in our back gardens and, to do this, they products a shed load of free resources on their website? No? It’s more than a bit clever. It’s genius.

I read that the John Lewis Christmas advert cost £1million to make the ad at that by the time the ad campaign ends, they will have spend £6million on it. If you don’t have that kind of spare cash in your back pocket, fear not, there are many, many things you can still take from it. The link between the TV ad and the product range, the collaboration, the additional resources, the way they’re pushing it all across social media using the #bustertheboxer hashtag on Twitter and the Snapchat filter. John Lewis has joined all the dots and created a campaign that works across so many different areas of their business. And that’s what clever. And that’s what you can do. Depending on when you read this blog, you might think it’s too last for Christmas (or too early), but it doesn’t matter, don’t limit yourself to the time people bring on the tinsel, think of how you can create joined up campaigns at other times of the year…yep- it takes more thought than shoving an ad in a magazine, but could yield a far greater ROI when you put a little bit more time into it…

I made a video all about the John Lewis advert – have a look at it on my Youtube channel here.

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