It’s official. The internet has unanimously decided that 2016 has been an absolute shocker of a year. First, the Grim Reaper got his grubby hands on David Bowie back in Feb… And ever since then, things have gone from bad to Donald-Trump-is-president-levels of worse.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the big brands are doing all they can to get us smiling (read: spending) again before Christmas comes around. John Lewis jumped at the chance first (pun very much intended), with the loveable boxer, Buster.
The retailer’s long-awaited two-minute 2016 Christmas advert, created by London agency adam&eve, broke early last Thursday. And whether you’re firmly in the Christmas-freak crowd or not, you gotta admit it’s great.
Director Dougal Wilson is the little-known name behind a long old list of the most-loved John Lewis ads. Yes, it’s this genius that brought us Monty the Penguin, and he’s applied the same winning formula to this year’s efforts.
Soft, sumptuous lighting? Check. Well-thought-out, eye-wateringly-expensive CGI animals? Double check. Unspoken bond between said animal and cute, well-behaved child? You betcha. Throw in true-to-life sets, the perfect pacing, and a breathily sung cover song to set the mood, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a tear-jerking, social media sensation my friend.
And sensation it’s been so far, in every sense of the word. Some of us, absolutely loved it (could you tell?) and others… Not so much. Some angry Twitter users have criticised John Lewis, as the ad shows the Dad putting up the trampoline in the middle of the night.
Fortunately, John Lewis were quick to assure that they had no plans to ‘ruin’ anybody’s Christmas, stating: “We’re sure Father Christmas has also visited Bridget and Buster the night before. This is just an extra special gift from her parents because she loves to bounce.”
Then there are more outlandish critiques, to whom JL’s attempts to soften the blows of 2016 have simply fallen rather flat.
But #BustertheBoxer does have plenty of enthusiastic supporters who have graciously thanked the retailer for this fun, festive and uplifting tale. And if you weren’t a fan? Well, there were plenty of others who tried their hand at heart warming.
Whilst Santa Claus (or Father Christmas, thank you very much M&S) is busy delivering gifts to all the world’s children, he thinks #MrsClaus is tucked up at home with a hot cocoa and her copy of ’50 Shades of Red.’
However, cheeky Mrs C is actually off channelling her inner Mrs. B (as in Bond, or should that be M?) in a shiny red helicopter. She’s covertly delivering gifts to a cute, curly-haired little brother who – in the spirit of Christmas – wants to give something back to his big sister. Aww.
This year, given the roaring (purring) success of Mog in 2015, Sainsbury’s certainly had a lot to live up to. The team has taken a much different strategy, shunning the tearjerker or the ‘awww’ factor altogether, and opting for what’s possibly trying to be the most ‘relatable’ ad ever.
The story focuses on a busy working dad who must deal with all the daily stresses that life throws at you, including long working hours, delayed trains and queueing. He comes up with a novel way of being in two places at once, emphasising that #ChristmasIsForSharing and spending time with your family.
However, the sentiment seems to be a little lost as many employees point out their long Christmas working hours this year…
But fortunately, they chose James Corden to sing the soundtrack, so everyone’s happy once again.
And last but not least…
…Had to feature for its weirdness alone. TK Maxx’s off-the-wall Christmas ad features a family performing an a cappella version of cult 90s film Pulp Fiction’s theme tune.
With no sentiment whatsoever, and just well and truly wacky, TK Maxx’s weird and wonderful Christmas ad is guaranteed to put a surprised smile on your face. Enjoy!
Main featured image: John Lewis