So it’s finally here. After waiting a little longer this year, John Lewis has finally dropped their Christmas advert, named #BusterTheBoxer.
The advert follows a boxer dog named Buster, who wants to jump on a newly built trampoline after watching wildlife play on it from behind a window. The following day, when the door opens, Buster is the one who is excited about the trampoline, not the little girl who the present was intended for, with looks of bewilderment from the little girl’s parents.
This John Lewis advert certainly is different from previous years and is certainly creating a divide on social media. So here’s what is good and bad about this year’s Christmas advert.
Good – Animals (yay!)
This is the first John Lewis Christmas advert to feature animals since Monty the Penguin in 2014. Penguins are cute. Foxes are cute. Dogs are cute. What’s not to like?
Good – Black Leads
2016 has already been a good year for minorities represented in the media. Minorities are rarely used in high street adverts and this Christmas we already have two Christmas adverts (Currys and John Lewis) that feature black main characters.
Good and Bad: The Soundtrack
This year’s soundtrack of the ad was from the band Vaults covering Randy Crawford’s ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’. The song is suiting to the advert yet not memorable, compared to Ellie Goulding’s cover of ‘Your Song’ or Gabrielle Aplin’s cover of ‘The Power of Love’. While the soundtrack isn’t going to win fans, it was better than a speculated Ed Sheeran cover of a David Bowie song.
Bad – Awful Choice of Present and Placement
Trampoline? At Christmas? When it’s freezing outside? Come on parents, what a stupid gift to give.
Also, the placement of the present is all wrong. In previous adverts, the emotional impact of giving the gift was always at the end of the advert. The trampoline was prominent throughout, making it feel more commercialised compared to other John Lewis Christmas adverts. For those wanting to know, John Lewis is selling the trampoline for £289.99.
Plus, anyone who has ever been on a trampoline with more than one person knows it is hell.
Bad – Narrative
This is an advert with a dash of Christmas, not a Christmas advert. Remove the tree and snow and it could easily have been aired in the summer. This is further added with the choice of present – a trampoline (something that I associate with summer).
Bad – It’s a Copy of Famous YouTube Videos
Anyone who spends as much time on the internet as us will know that this advert is a glossy version of the ‘Foxes Jumping on My Trampoline’ video and ‘The Trampoline Dog’. Both of these videos were released over 8 years ago, making this advert feel dated.
Bad – No Heart-Tugging This Year
For those all bracing their hearts and grabbing the tissue boxes in preparation for this year’s advert will be disappointed. While the advert is cute, it isn’t an emotional whirlwind like ‘The Man on the Moon’ or ‘The Bear and The Hare’. It’s too commercial and feels too plain.
Overall, I would rate the advert 6/10 and the worst John Lewis Christmas advert that has been made. It’s just nice – nothing out of the ordinary. There are just too many flaws that destroy any Christmas feeling and emotional impact it could’ve had. But after the emotional distress of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, perhaps the slacking of the John Lewis marketing department is exactly what we needed.