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I wanted feel good – and the 2016 John Lewis Christmas advert delivered

The moment has finally arrives: the 2016 John Lewis Christmas advert is here. And this year, the star is a trampolining boxer dog called Buster.

Before the much-hyped ad was released, John Lewis revealed that it was going for ‘feel good’, after the tough year we’ve all had (which just got a little more despairing yesterday).

Watch the 2016 John Lewis Christmas advert

This was certainly welcome news to me. I was away at Web Summit in Lisbon this week when the first details of the ad started to leak, and I said to my colleagues that I wanted humour and happiness to be at the heart of this year’s ad. I couldn’t bear the thought of yet another heartstring tugger.

Gladly, 2016’s John Lewis Christmas advert is much more upbeat than 2015’s man on the moon offering. It has all the hallmarks of the retailer’s usual festive campaign – emotionally charged music, a heartfelt gift at the centre – but this time it aimed to make us smile, not weep.

Is the 2016 John Lewis Christmas ad any good?

Using a dog as the protagonist will always please the crowds, and it certainly worked for me. I love a dog, and bouncing Buster steals the show. The trampolining woodland creatures are a bit twee for me; I would have liked to see Buster outside, annoying the dad as he set up the trampoline. Maybe the dad had a cheeky test run, and that’s what inspired Buster.

However, the climax of the advert – when the little girl runs out into the garden, only to be beaten to the trampoline by her pet dog – is well executed. I also laughed out loud at the moment when they cut to a shot over the garden fence, stopping the music, to show the pet dog bouncing up and down.

How will 2016’s effort go down in the annals of John Lewis Christmas ad history?

The thing about using humour rather than raw emotion is that the connection will never be as deep. As a result, this is probably makes bouncing Buster the retailer’s most forgettable festive effort to date. However, I can’t help feeling that last year’s man on the moon ad was peak hype, and whatever John Lewis released this year was going to fall a little short.

With this in mind, it was a good switch to go for the feel good factor – and on that note, John Lewis’ Christmas advert delivered. So now that we know they’ve done a good job, can we get on with the rest of our lives?


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