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#BusterTheBoxer Bounces To Victory

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Yesterday, we predicted the visual treats John Lewis could be about to unleash on the UK.

The advert is here (finally!) and it’s the retailer’s best effort, yet.

This is the story of a little girl called Bridget who loves to bounce.

Bridget’s parents build her trampoline of dreams. As they retire into the house to recover from their intense DIY sesh, a host of furry visitors sneak onto the trampoline. Badgers, foxes, squirrels, and hedgehogs fly through the air (prompting roars of laughter in this office), as Buster watches quietly, desperately pining through the patio doors. The poor pooch waits patiently until the morning when he seizes his opportunity to race ahead of Bridget to get his bounce on.

So, what did we get right?

1) BrandContent’s video producer, Adam “The Oracle” Russell, predicted John Lewis would explore an uplifting animal narrative, that departed from its sentimental predecessor The Man In The Moon. We have a winner! Not one iota of sentimental gloom is detectable. The Guardian’s headline couldn’t be more accurate: “Buster the Boxer is a Sledgehammer to 2016!” (Stuart Heritage’s gleefully satirical and very funny interpretation is absolutely worth the read.)

2) Adam also thought John Lewis would sell a cuddly version of the Boxer, and he was on the money. Not only will a plush puppy hit the shelves, John Lewis has launched a full woodland of snuggly critters to join old Buster. That, plus pj’s, space hoppers, and an actual trampoline. Joining up the on-screen and in-store shopping experience is a winning marketing strategy that should nudge shoppers to convert.

3) Adam also thought there’d be a charitable donation. Right again: “We donate 10% of the selling price of these toys to The Wildlife Trusts… to help protect and restore our nation’s wildlife and natural habitat for our children today and in the future.” That more than ticks the ethical box.

How did John Lewis surprise us?

1) Seamless CGI, for a start. Buster and the gang’s acrobatics appear for the most part real. Of course, they’re not, but the detail in the artwork makes for deceptively realistic movement and nuances.

2) The marketing team has embraced virtual reality, opening an Oculus Rift experience at its flagship store in London. You can literally play with Buster in Bridget’s garden. Don’t worry if you can’t get to London today, there’s a 360-degree video online instead.

3) There’s a digital educational resource centre to get kids excited about the wildlife in their own gardens. It’s distractingly adorable no matter how old you are.

4) John Lewis has the expected social media spin-offs, using #BusterTheBoxer to join up its on-screen, in-store and online campaigns. Meanwhile, the kids are enjoying a bespoke Snapchat lens that projects Buster’s ears, eyes, and nose onto your face.

5) And, there’s this GIF, which we’re enjoying very much.

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Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall

Hi, I’m Chris, Content Editor at BrandContent. I work on content strategy, planning and creation. I have nearly 15 years’ experience as a journalist and editor. I bring a newsroom mindset – along with a heavy dose of pedantry – honed from writing for the likes of the FT and Sunday Times. Outside of work? Pizza and my two small children are the first two things that come to mind.

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