John Lewis #bearandhare: the Christmas tradition continues

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Writing letters to Santa Claus, hanging stocking at the end of their bed, fire crackers, paper crowns, the Royal Christmas Message – the list of Christmas traditions in UK is perhaps not complete with a John Lewis advert. Every year while most major UK retailers put out their Christmas campaigns, the most eagerly awaited one is from John Lewis. Over the past few years, the ‘format’ has been the same: an emotional ad about finding the perfect gift for your loved ones, set to a jingle. Lat year it was ‘The Other Half‘. This year’s advert, at a reported cost of £7mn is an animated story of a bear and a hare. Set in a beautiful forest, poor Bear is the only animal that never gets to celebrate Christmas because he has to hibernate every year. However, this year is different. This year Hare has a brilliant idea.

Agency: Adam&EveDDB

As with every other major campaign nowadays, the campaign is not just about a TVC: it features an eBook and hardback book, Christmas card maker, YouTube competition, social media, in-store and windows, merchandise, digital outdoor projection and soundtrack single.

The brand has set the bar very high over the years and their effort for Christmas will always be under the microscope. You could say the John Lewis team has done it again; many seem to have bawled watching the advert. But I thought the ad is perhaps  a notch lower in the ‘tugging at the heartstrings department’ of the previous efforts from John Lewis. The £7mn production budget seems worth is as the animation rivals the best of Hollywood but ad is not a tearjerker as some claim on social media. It is not about animation (the married life montage sequence in Up moved many to tears)  but about the story itself. It is cute but not as powerful enough to make you an emotional wreck – which was the brand’s trump card for years. That said, the ‘Bear and Hare’ story and the animation make for great opportunities for surround. An iPad & Android app with an interactive story is on its way. Your thoughts?

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  1. Simply beautiful and could not stop crying! The ad is DEFINITELY a tearjerker, especially when you reflect on the simplicity and beauty of friendship and love, in the animal world and beyond. Gorgeous!

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