The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenges Goes Global – Week 2

Discussion
Source: John Lewis "Buster the Boxer"
Dec 08, 2016
George Anderson

Marks & Spencer’s “Mrs. Claus” was the clear winner of our week one competition. We now turn to two British department stores — Harrods and John Lewis — for the second round of our non-U.S. competition.

Harrods has created an animated spot featuring a stuffed bear, named Hugh, who gets stuck inside the iconic department store after a wicked elf turns the place into a palace of ice. Only the bear can undo the elf’s work, with the help of some friends.

John Lewis’ “Buster the Boxer” spot has become an internet sensation with more than 21.75 million views on YouTube alone. The commercial features a little girl, Bridget, her four-legged friend Buster and some local wildlife, all of whom share a love for a particular form of exercise.

PLEASE VIEW THE ADS AND VOTE IN THE INSTANT POLL TO THE RIGHT.


Harrods “A Very British Bear Tale”


John Lewis “Buster The Boxer”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your critique of Harrods’ “A Very British Bear Tale” and “Buster the Boxer” from John Lewis? Which do you think is the more effective of the two? Would either of these spots work for a U.S. retailer if presented to an American audience?

Braintrust
"A couple of terrific ads that reflect the unique positioning of each retailer. "
"It’s hard to compete with bouncing animals. My vote goes to John Lewis."
"The Harrods ad has great animation, but the antics of the naughty elf reminds me of a terrorist plot."

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13 Comments on "The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenges Goes Global – Week 2"

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Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust

A couple of terrific ads that reflect the unique positioning of each retailer. Personally, the John Lewis commercial resonated a bit more with me. It engaged a variety of senses and feelings, showed a real household and depicted a wonderful story. Both ads would work for U.S. retailers.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

Loved the Boxer!

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

My vote goes to John Lewis’s “Buster the Boxer.” Having spent time on Christmas Eve putting together a variety of gifts for our then small children, the spot struck home. It shows the love that can go into a gift.

I believe the spot would work well in the U.S. What’s not to like? It has a dad doing something so his child will have the gift she wanted for Christmas, a variety of cute animals including the must-have dog, a happy child and a bit of surprise at the end.

Max Goldberg
BrainTrust

It’s hard to compete with bouncing animals. My vote goes to John Lewis. The spot is memorable and fun. The Harrods spot is ordinary and does little to reinforce the brand’s image.

W. Frank Dell II
BrainTrust

Harrods’ commercial was quite good with hidden product presentation, but everyone in the UK knows Harrods. This is a corporate good season commercial. The John Lewis commercial leaves me wandering what they sell, but it was the funniest commercial we have seen this year. Both commercials are for the UK market. Macy’s could do a “very British bear tale” commercial, but with limited impact.

Richard Hernandez
Guest

These are some of the best advertisements so far — I really like the John Lewis commercial. It is never about actual product — it is about the emotion and feeling of the holiday season. Well done.

Ed Rosenbaum
BrainTrust

Both are very good. My preference is Buster the Boxer for this week’s selection. It touched me more than Harrods. Made me feel good which is what the season should bring.

Mohamed Amer
BrainTrust
Both ads strongly reinforce each company’s respective brand perception in the UK. Harrods is all about being British, luxury and exceeding expectations. The spot brings in good versus bad (hard to call an elf “evil”) and the struggle to save the world (or Christmas). Through magical snuggle-power, the bear withstands the elf’s mischief, perseveres and climbs to the top to send an SOS to a sleeping Santa. The voice over is British, Harrods is a palace and the world is saved. We’re on the outside looking in and are in awe at the characters and story. Customers aren’t co-creators of… Read more »
Lee Kent
BrainTrust

Hands down, John Lewis! It was so well done, I was laughing out loud at the end.

Lee Peterson
BrainTrust

Buster the Boxer is one of those ads where you say to people at work, “have you seen the ad with the animals on the trampoline?” and then forget who ran the ad. But it still wins IMO. Great contextual value, but more brand work needed. The Harrods ad is boring in comparison with nowhere near the killer Buster-like conclusion.

Jerry Gelsomino
BrainTrust

The Harrods ad has great animation, but the antics of the naughty elf reminds me of a terrorist plot. I vote for John Lewis’ innocence.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Unlike the other contests, this one really wasn’t: John Lewis.

The Harrods spot started well — for once we knew exactly who was speaking to us — but then … while the bear went upward, the ad itself went down, down, down with a pointless story and the most inept Rudolph mankind has ever seen (the Montgomery Ward Estate should sue).

The Lewis spot came close to going off topic, but if was short enough that a coherent message emerged. And the special effects were truly that … special.

Naomi K. Shapiro
BrainTrust

I feel sorry for all who suffered because of the “Grinch” on the Harrods ad, which is best kept in a fairy-tale book; and I feel sorry for the little girl in the John Lewis ad, who was pushed out by a dog.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"A couple of terrific ads that reflect the unique positioning of each retailer. "
"It’s hard to compete with bouncing animals. My vote goes to John Lewis."
"The Harrods ad has great animation, but the antics of the naughty elf reminds me of a terrorist plot."

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Which commercial — Harrods’ “A Very British Bear Tale” or “Buster the Boxer” from John Lewis — do you think is most effective?

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