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The John Lewis Christmas Ad Is Here. Does It Ease the Pain of 2016, or Add to It? Buster the boxer just wants to have fun

It's not easy making a lighthearted commercial to cap off 2016.

Not with Brexit and President-elect Trump leaving a path of scorched earth behind them—or more to the point, ahead of them—and putting lots of consumers in the grimmest of moods this holiday. How do you find joy after such an annus horribilis?

For John Lewis, the retailer that's become the standard bearer of holiday cheer in Britain—and helped turn Christmas into an advertising showcase, the U.K.'s Super Bowl—the task has fallen to a dog. He's a boxer named Buster, and he just wants to jump.

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November 10, 2016, 8:31 AM EST

This Magazine's Simple, Poignant Cover Remembers the Paris Attacks of a Year Ago Zeit evokes powerful emotions with a ticket stub

Nov. 13 will mark one year since the attacks in and around the Bataclan concert venue in Paris. To commemorate this somber anniversary and its victims, Germany's Zeit Magazin—a supplement to the weekly Die Zeit newspaper—has released a striking memento for its Nov. 10 cover. 

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November 9, 2016, 12:34 PM EST

This Ad's Love Story Between a Mermaid and a Sailor Ends With Quite a Lovely Twist A twisted take on The Little Mermaid

Remember those sailor stories about mermaids who drag drowning men to their doom? In this creepy—yet charming!—little piece of work, the National Maritime Rescue Organization tells just that tale ... from the perspective of the mermaid. 

Set to the plaintive croon of Tobias Jesso's "Without You," a mermaid sulking on the balcony of a sunken ship sees a sailor drifting down toward her. This kicks off a model courtship. 

The graphics depict a magical world illuminated by jellyfish. Love blooms around the shipwreck, a foreshadowing of darkness to come. You're bound to ask yourself a few questions: How does the sailor breathe underwater? Can you really barbeque steaks below sea level? How does that mermaid get pregnant? 

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November 8, 2016, 1:15 PM EST

This Christmas Ad From Australia Takes Perhaps the Dimmest View Ever of Horrible Americans Meet the Tinkletons (or really, don't)

Last year over the holidays, Australian grocer Aldi released a brutally honest ad about the stress people endure to make around-the-table magic happen. This year, it's focusing on a very different annoyance—Americans. 

The "Meet the Tinkletons" campaign opens with a 75-second ad in which a caroling American family with ugly sweaters invades a calm, sunny Australian household to show them how Christmas should really be celebrated (which feels an awful lot like a veiled critique of the U.S.'s foreign relations approach in general). 

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November 8, 2016, 12:43 PM EST

Hillary Clinton and Her Team Did the Mannequin Challenge as a Fun, Final Reminder to Vote The viral craze that's sweeping Twitter

The Mannequin Challenge is simple: Get a bunch of people together, have them stand completely motionless in ridiculous fashion, take a video of the whole thing, and share it on social media.

As one last plea to get Americans to vote, Hillary Clinton posted a video early Tuesday of her team performing the challenge on her airplane. The video makes its way through the cabin of the plane, passing aides carrying pizza boxes, media members seeking a quote and a smiling Bill Clinton. It ends with Hillary grinning at a guitar-playing Jon Bon Jovi. 

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November 8, 2016, 11:03 AM EST

Corona Urges Mexicans to Smash Walls, and Not Just Trump's, in Ad Timed to the U.S. Election Diego Luna stars in fun, frenzied spot

As Election Day arrives in America, Corona riffs on Donald Trump's vow to build a wall along the southern border in this extravagant 90-second film for the Mexican market, created by Leo Burnett.

"The main inspiration comes from all the conversation that Trump's wall generated in Mexico," Daniel Pérez Pallares, agency creative vice president, tells AdFreak. "Many people felt hurt and offended by it. We found an opportunity to turn that narrative into a positive message, and ask Mexicans to reflect about the 'mental walls.' "

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November 8, 2016, 10:39 AM EST

6 Great Political Movies That Will Get You Psyched for Election Day Several of these gems were ahead of their time

Today, the American people go to the polls—at least, those who haven't already taken advantage of early voting—to vote for president and a host of other national, state and local leaders. This year's election cycle, which has been going on approximately forever, has been particularly contentious, as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have attacked each other in what has sometimes been reminiscent of The Batley Townswomens' Guild re-enacting the Battle of Pearl Harbor.

To take our minds off the horrific and caustic nature of this year's political environment, we're looking today at the trailers for a number of fictional presentations of American electioneering. Some of these are straight-up satire, some are upbeat comedies, some are more dramatic. But considering not a single one involves discussion of email servers or the word "bigly," they're all, by default, more enjoyable than what we've been going through.

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November 8, 2016, 8:08 AM EST

This Crazy, Entertaining Skincare Ad Throws Everything at You to See What Will Stick Manic monologue meets 9-day acne stunt

Adult acne is no fun, but it can be hilarious, especially when tracked around the clock for nine solid days via a head-mounted camera. That's the stunt at the heart of the first major ad campaign for Nerd Skincare, a San Francisco startup founded by biomedical engineer Evelyn Chen.

But the young CEO isn't the only star of this five-minute video. (She happens to play a great straight man, though, and she infected her own face with bacteria as an on-air product demo.) Actress and comedian Laura Clery takes the role often played by celebrities in zit-cream testimonials and runs with it, showing the dramatic fallout of pimple breakouts.

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November 7, 2016, 2:55 PM EST

This John Lewis Christmas Ad, Made by a Student, Is Being Mistaken for the Real Thing Nick Jablonka's surprise viral hit

A fake John Lewis ad about a lonely snowman, created by a young student as part of his coursework, is making waves in the U.K.—befuddling viewers and drawing widespread attention ahead of the release of the retailer's real Christmas commercial.

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November 7, 2016, 1:54 PM EST

SNL Made a Parody of Apple's '1984' to Poke Fun at Kohler's Futuristic Toilets Benedict Cumberbatch is so Koohl

Given Saturday Night Live's love of fake ads, it was only a matter of time before it tackled Apple's "1984." So what did they do with the spot that transformed Super Bowl advertising? They took on the tyranny of futuristic toilet design—as seen in DDB's recent ads for Kohler.

While it isn't quite a shot-for-shot remake of the Chiat/Day ad, the two-minute spoof does feature several hallmarks from Ridley Scott's original. There's a prison-like vibe, drab colors, a line of people marching into a room where they sit in front of a screen listening to a dictator, and the episode's host, in this case Benedict Cumberbatch, enters with a sledgehammer. Plus, said dictator is wearing Steve Jobs-style glasses, just to make sure you get the reference. 

It's worth noting that this spot, even though it mentions Kohler, isn't part of SNL's planned sponsored content.

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November 7, 2016, 12:35 PM EST

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AdFreak is a daily blog of the best and worst of creativity in advertising, media, marketing and design. Follow us as we celebrate (and skewer) the latest, greatest, quirkiest and freakiest commercials, promos, trailers, posters, billboards, logos and package designs around. Edited by Adweek's Tim Nudd.

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