For large brands, like John Lewis, Christmas offers a signature time to show off with huge-budget, creative TV campaigns. These can steal the attention from actual TV programmes and become a phenomenon in their own right.

Successful ads

The scale and popularity of these adverts are a potential hit in sealing the firm’s reputation for the year. But can be a ‘miss’ if it fails to connect with the public. The aim is a resulting festive sales boost. In the run-up to Christmas, Igniyte summarises what John Lewis’s ads show about the reputation of the wider brand.

A number of ways are used to define ‘successful’ ads. Acknowledgement from industry leading titles, such as Campaign, are one sign of this. Another mark of success in any multi-media marketing campaign is arguably in social media sharing.

The John Lewis masterclass

Combining both of the above, the latest seasonal spectacular from John Lewis features in key titles and has officially become 2016’s most shared ad of the year. The article notes the importance of shares, as the ad stands as John Lewis’s most shared ever. Furthering this, it is also firmly set as the fifth most shared holiday advertisement of all time. It is competing successfully with international brand giants such as Nike and the Super Bowl.

For a comparatively small British department store, this is an extraordinary achievement, especially since the ad took a dramatic turn from the firm’s (tried and tested) ads formulae in recent years.

From lonely penguins, to an isolated man on the moon, to following a woman from birth to old age, John Lewis adverts – though touching – often fall into the tear-jerking emotional category. However, this one, with a radical change of direction, the brand’s ad agency Adam & Eve DDB opted for an upbeat, fun visual film featuring a dog called Buster.

Using CGI, the ad creates the illusion of a boxer (and woodland creatures) being captivated by a trampoline. The animals’ reactions are akin to those of a young child waking to such a magnificent gift on Christmas Day.

Brand tool

The ad embodies wonderment and ‘the cute factor’. People all over the world have fallen in love with Buster. The 7,000 comments left on the YouTube video serve as evidence. At the same time, John Lewis hasn’t lost any of its brand messaging. The ad still connects well with its target audience of middle-class suburban families. After all, who else would have the physical space, requirement or pester-power needed to purchase a trampoline?

With both media and retail shifting more than any period in history, it’s a mark of the strength of the John Lewis brand to use, essentially, TV advertising so effectively to gain an unwavering abundance of admirers.

It’s true the brand also used a Twitter promoted hashtag and sponsored Snapchat filter (in addition to paid posts on Facebook, Twitter and beyond) upon its initial screenings. But this doesn’t detract from the brand’s understanding of its core audience, potential audience and media diversification.

The investment in advertising here reaps unchartered rewards in terms of sustaining a genuinely favourable and positive public reputation. This creates longevity the brand builds on year after year.

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