Thursday 10 November 2016

Today's Review: The John Lewis Christmas Advert 2016

Yes, it's that time of year again. I normally see the arrival of the Coca Cola truck as the beginning of Christmas, but in recent years it's become apparent that the fervent social media masses are frothing at the mouth for whatever sentimental story John Lewis will churn out in order to peddle their wares. Speaking of rabies, this one features a dog. Called Buster. Here's a link to the merchandise page.

I would say spoilers ahead, but if you can't take time out of your day to watch a video that's just over two minutes, you shouldn't get mad when someone spills the elaborate plot. Buster belongs to a girl named Bridget, who is established as a bouncing enthusiast from a few-seconds long clip of her bouncing on her bed. Unbeknownst to her, her father is assembling a trampoline in the garden for the big day, a montage of which makes it out to be a long and arduous task, but couldn't be that bad because the parents still have time to watch TV after. "Bridget will be so pleased", they must think, as two foxes, a badger, a squirrel and a hedgehog decide to have a go on the thing first. 

I had images of them all breaking it, and having put their woodland differences aside for longer in order to fix it, but apparently they just make the dog like, well jealous, because in the morning Buster rushes out in front of Bridget and christens her new gift right in front of her (with bouncing, not urine, although it's not outside the realm of possibility that the wild animals marked their territory). Buster bounces around joyously, while Bridget looks on, mostly confused, but definitely disappointed. "Gifts that everyone will love", they say, as the hashtag comes into view, and we're encouraged to click on and discover that we too could buy a £200 trampoline for our dogs.

Cynical, snarky commentary aside, it's not an awful advert, but there had to be a point at which the John Lewis amazement train started slowing down, and I feel this is it. Other years have been touching, some very well thought out, but this seems a little lacklustre to me. The woodland creatures seemed a little unnecessary, I know they serve to make the dog jealous, but he's already been watching the girl bounce around for ages, so he was probably already raring to go. Could it be they added in more animals to sell more cuddly toys? No, surely not. 

I guess the truth is that I don't care about these people (and animals). Bridget is happy when she sees her gift, sure, but is positively bewildered at the end, and I'm not particularly overjoyed by seeing a boxer getting his jollies on a trampoline. My emotions escaped unscathed, and so too has my wallet. Not that I'd shop at John Lewis anyway, you can always get it cheaper online...

My rating: 2/5


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