John Lewis has a great track record for Christmas ads. From last year’s Man on the Moon to Monty the Penguin and The Bear and the Hare, their adverts have a sweet Christmas message that can melt even the iciest of hearts.
This year is no exception. Buster the Boxer has already claimed our hearts as the only animal left out of the nighttime trampolining frolicks of the local wildlife. As everyone from the foxes to the squirrels and hedgehogs get a go, Buster watches the fun from the window.
From Viral Video to Christmas Ad
The idea of foxes playing on a trampoline is not a new one. This viral video was uploaded to YouTube in 2008 and has had 27,140,769 views (at the time of writing).
This video uploaded in 2013 also shows dogs and other animals playing on trampolines. While it has not quite reached the same level of viral sharing, the 2,333,908 views it has had shows that the ‘animal on trampoline’ genre on YouTube is a popular one.
Jumping on this trend (haha) is a smart move from John Lewis and as far as we can see, they are the first advertisers to do it. Noting which video content is most popular on YouTube is a good way to figure out what lots of people want to watch. This means that instead of guessing what your audience might enjoy – and risking the possibility that you will just be annoying – you can provide an ad that people will enjoy for the whole Christmas advertising season.
Of course, John Lewis adverts would be nothing if they didn’t have a compelling story to keep us gripped. Buster is an instantly loveable character. His fascination while watching Bridget bounce on her bed, his head nodding as she goes up and down, is reminiscent of all pets watching their owners.
Buster may not say anything, but you know that he wants to be able to join in. And you want him to join in. When all the other animals are playing outside, you can’t help but feel sorry for Boxer who is left out and sitting wide-eyed at the window.
So when Christmas morning arrives and Bridget runs outside to see the trampoline, it is clear to us that this trampoline may be appreciated by the little girl, but we all know who this present is really for. As Buster dashes ahead of Bridget to get the first bounce on the trampoline it lifts your heart. The trampoline was for Bridget, but she stands back to let Buster have his turn first, looking on with awe.
The Christmas message, ‘Gifts that everyone will love’ is accomplished in 2 short minutes.
Further Christmas Marketing
If you thought that the Christmas advert was all there was to the marketing campaign, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that the team have gone much, much further.
You can own cuddly versions of Buster and his friends, the squirrel, the foxes, the hedgehog and the badger. And, if the cute-factor wasn’t enough to tempt you, 10% of the selling price of each toy will be donated to The Wildlife Trust, bringing them an income and exposure too. The feel-good factor here is second to none and reaches the sensibilities of the John Lewis customer who wants to support the environment and wildlife as well as have a Christmas everyone will love.
John Lewis is also using Virtual Reality headsets at its Oxford Street store to allow customers to explore Buster’s garden ‘in an immersive 306* world of Buster’s friends’. They are also making smart use of augmented reality with their custom Snapchat filter. Then there’s the Twitter stickers, which can be added to any image. This use of VR and AR brings John Lewis firmly up the cutting edge of technology and digital marketing for 2016.
And if you missed the advert’s release last night, John Lewis sent an email to their mailing list this morning so that everyone could catch up with the trend. The email advertises the cuddly toys and snapchat filter, but the standout is the gif of Buster nodding at the start of the video, enticing you to click.
Plus, the hashtag #BusterTheBoxer had a reach of 4.8 million on social media within a 2 hour period of the campaign being released. They have basically made sure that if you haven’t seen the advert immediately, you will quickly find yourself in a conversation with someone who has.
An Immediate Success
#BusterTheBoxer has already worked perfectly. This keyword map shows the words that have been used the most in association with the hashtag. The words brilliant, adorable, smile, happy and amazing are all associated words, indicating a high level of positive sentiment around the campaign.
Google trends also shows how the search term ‘John Lewis’ has rocket up overnight in direct correlation with #BusterTheBoxer.
As you might expect, the majority of people tweeting about the advert are women.
The John Lewis advert is cute and cosy. Jokingly referred to as the only thing that can save 2016, it’s Christmas message of inclusion is a much needed sentiment. Using so many different digital techniques to reach a wider audience is a smart move from John Lewis.
It feels likely that other big Christmas advertisers will be following in their footsteps next year.