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John Lewis plays online video card every Christmas

John Lewis kick starts Christmas countdown with latest video ad

John Lewis plays online video card every Christmas 1
Image: John Lewis Advert

We know Christmas is on its way when John Lewis releases its annual TV Christmas advert. And here it is. Say hello to Buster the Boxer (#BusterTheBoxer):

2016 Buster the Boxer

Buster is the star of this rather more upbeat advert (although CGI versions of foxes, squirrels, badgers and hedgehogs also take a starring role), and it features a six-year old girl, a trampoline and a great pair of pyjamas.

As with the two previous ads, John Lewis will be selling a range of products linked to the campaign, namely, toys of the animals featured in the advert, pyjamas, and the trampoline.

As to the soundtrack, John Lewis has stuck to using a little-known band performing a cover of a better-known song. Here the song is Randy Crawford’s 1980 single, One Day I’ll Fly Away, and it is performed by British band Vaults.

This campaign, as with previous campaigns, was created by advertising agency adam&eveDDB. It has also broken all previous John Lewis ad records. Within the first hour of its release, Buster the Boxer got 218,330 video shares on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This compares with last year’s The Man in the Moon ad, which managed 174,717 shares within the hour. Within 5 days of its release on YouTube the video has recieved over 14 million views and reached #29 on Trending.

Video marketing is a key marketing trend for 2016, and the growing need for visual content online is now more real than ever. Asia-based digital agency Syndacast says that 74% off all internet traffic will be video by 2017. The agency also claims that using the word ‘video’ in email subject lines improves open rates by as much as 19%.

John Lewis’ Christmas campaigns not only show that major brands are taking video marketing seriously. They are a barometer of how we consume online video and share their content.

In the three hours after 2015’s The Man on the Moon video made its debut on YouTube, there were 39,872 mentions of the ad’s hashtag #manonthemoon on Twitter, including mentions of the teaser hashtag #onthemoon.
Monty the Penguin – the 2014 festive campaign by John Lewis – saw its hashtag mentioned 97,257 times within the first 24 hours of the video appearing on YouTube.

However, The Bear and the Hare – John Lewis’s festive campaign in 2013 – was mentioned in just 49,152 tweets in the 24 hours after it was launched.

This demonstrates the ever-growing strength of Twitter as a social media marketing tool. Facebook is also embracing the video revolution. If you want to drive awareness and sales, Facebook video ads are the way forward. In 2014, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said: “In five years most of Facebook will be video”, while according to a study by Socialbakers, the average video post generates 135% greater organic reach when compared with photo posts.

In the week after its release, The Man on the Moon notched up more than 16 million views across Facebook and YouTube.

The growth of video marketing

Do you remember John Lewis’ previous Christmas adverts?
Now for some festive (video) entertainment. Below is every Christmas campaign that John Lewis has launched between 2010 and 2015:

  • 2015: The Man on the Moon

    This video featured a girl trying to send a message to a man on the moon while looking through her telescope. The soundtrack is the Oasis track, Half the World Away, and is performed by Norwegian artist Aurora. To date, it has garnered over 26 million views on the John Lewis YouTube channel,

  • 2014: Monty the Penguin

    This is the first Christmas ad that John Lewis created its own hashtag for. #montythepenguin was used in 49,562 tweets in the three hours after the ad’s online release.

  • 2013: The Bear and the Hare

    To date, more than 16 million people have viewed this animated tale on the John Lewis YouTube channel, while the ad was mentioned in 49,152 tweets in the first 24 hours of its release.

  • 2012: The Journey

    This is the year online video came of age. This video has received more than 6million views and was mentioned in 21,027 tweets in the first 24 hours after its online release.

  • 2011: The Long Wait

    John Lewis launched its 2011 festive ad on its own YouTube channel and Twitter. And in the week before it made its TV debut, during The X-Factor’s ad break, the video was shared 183,000 times and mentioned in 10,000 tweets.

    It would have received more than 290,141 views, however, had the online version not replaced the cover version of The Smiths’ Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want with a track from unknown band, Being Buffalo.

  • 2010: Rocking Horse

    This video is best remembered for launching Ellie Goulding’s pop career thanks to her cover of Your Song by Elton John in the ad. But more significant is that John Lewis didn’t upload the campaign to YouTube, and this version has fewer viewings on the social media channel.

    Regardless of what channel these are viewed on, the growing popularity of online videos cannot be ignored. It’s for this reason that Art Division is exploring

For advice on how your company can benefit from Art Division’s digital marketing experience, contact us today for a no-obligation chat.

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