John Lewis Christmas ad 2016: Retailer embraces VR and Snapchat for "Buster" ad


The John Lewis Christmas advert has become a major milestone in the festive calender, and this year the UK department store premiered its video on YouTube- a feel good tale starring a boxer dog called Buster.

Fans have been second-guessing the plot of the two-minute advert – considered a marker of the start of the Christmas shopping season - for days after teasers were leaked online.

The retailer said it had aimed for a sense of fun in this year's campaign, after 2016 had proved to be "quite a year", and comes after it acknowledged "a few murmurings" that last year's Man On The Moon was "a bit sad".

In a departure from the retailer’s emotion-laden tearjerkers of its previous Christmas campaigns, the upbeat ad tells the story of the dog enviously watching the neighbourhood’s wildlife leap around on a family’s brand new trampoline on Christmas Eve.

The ad aslso embraces virutal reality, with a follow up 360 video putting the viewer inside the dog's garden.

Snapchat marketing

This year, the famous John Lewis Christmas advert also employed the use of social media platform Snapchat to truly bring its famous marketing campaign to life through a bespoke Buster lens.

Mike Shapaker, Managing Director EMEA at ChannelAdvisor, looks at how retail players are jumping on the social media bandwagon to strengthen their festive advertising campaigns this Christmas.

“For many, the countdown to Christmas truly begins with John Lewis’ TV advert, famed for its ability to make even the toughest consumers weep. Today marks the launch of the 2016 John Lewis ad, starring Buster the Boxer, but this year the retail giant has taken its marketing tactics up a notch by introducing Snapchat into the mix.

“As part of a new tech-fuelled, social-focused marketing strategy, John Lewis is enabling consumers to transport themselves into the TV ad spectacle with a personalised Buster the Boxer filter. It's perhaps no surprise John Lewis is jumping on the Snapchat bandwagon. It's been well-documented that in the last 12 months, more established brands have been shifting ad-spend to Snapchat thanks to its reach, influence and increasing popularity.

“While John Lewis’ use of Snapchat signals the social platform’s arrival as a feasible means to engage consumers, there are other methods that continue to dominate in the race to steal the hearts and minds of consumers in the run up to Christmas. According to recent research we commissioned, 62% of UK retailers see the majority of social media-related Christmas sales conversions through Facebook. What’s more, more than 1 in 10 mobile sales take place through social media. 66% of UK retailers also now offer a mobile app, recognising the role that mobile and social play in generating revenue in a very lucrative shopping period.

“Today’s move into social media marketing and even VR-related in-store technologies will equip John Lewis with new and innovative ways to capture the spirit of the season. With businesses increasingly dependent on the holiday season for a large proportion of annual sales, retailers must embrace their own social media strategies in order to reap the benefits. And a cute dog in a TV ad wouldn’t hurt either.”

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