Guest blog post by Hetty Scrope.
The John Lewis Christmas advert has become something of a British institution. The true herald of Christmas - along with perhaps the Coca Cola broadcast - many simply refuse to feel festive before the ad airs in mid-November. This year, true to form, John Lewis has employed a host of furry animals and a remastered hit song to pull at viewers heartstrings. As per tradition, the storyline reliably lifts from forlorn to joyous through the facial expressions of the central dog (last years star was a lonely snowman, see above image), and therein lies the magic of the advert. The product itself - in this case a trampoline, is really just a prop.
John Lewis conveniently provide a readymade hashtag (#BustertheBoxer) at the end of the ad, to make discussion on social media all the easier. The phenomenon has earned its own section on the John Lewis website, selling the advert soundtrack and merchandise and promoting wildlife protection. Whilst the Christmas advert clearly generates profit it has also become a platform for the department store to build up brand association and create a conversation around its name.[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr6lr_VRsEo[/embed]
£6 million will reportedly be spent on the John Lewis Christmas campaign, £1 million of that on the production of the advert, suggesting just how big an event this has become. Ultimately, the light-hearted ad is really a serious business move, and as intrinsically linked with Christmas, for some, as mulled wine, bad movies and overfeeding.