Buster the Boxer Steals the Show in adam&eveDDB’s Upbeat Holiday Spot for John Lewis

By Erik Oster 

The much-anticipated annual John Lewis Christmas spot from adam&eveDDB is here and it’s quite the departure from 2015’s effort.

After the low-key melancholy of last year’s “#ManOnTheMoon,” John Lewis head of marketing Rachel Swift told The Drum that the brand reevaluated its approach in light of “murmurings that it was too sad.” This year John Lewis and adam&eveDDB have opted for a lighter approach, full of lovable animals. That’s hardly a first for the brand, which celebrated the relationship between a boy and his pet penguin (later revealed to be a stuffed animal) in 2014 with “Monty the Penguin.”

Dougal Wilson, who directed that effort, as well as last year’s “Tiny Dancer” spot promoting John Lewis Home Insurance, is back for “#BusterTheBoxer.”

The spot opens with Buster watching a girl bouncing on her bed before mom tucks her in for the night and dad sets up a trampoline as a surprise present in the backyard. After the entire family retires for the night, the trampoline is discovered by a pair of foxes and then a group of other animals, as Buster watches from inside. The spot ends with the girl discovering her gift the next morning, followed by a comic twist.

The spot has already received over one and a half million views on YouTube, but, as Adweek points out, it also already has some detractors. There’s the usual critique surrounding ads showing parents giving presents that it suggests to children that Santa Clause isn’t real. Then there’s Guardian columnist Stuart Heritage, who views the spot’s conclusion as a “sledgehammer allegory for Donald Trump.”

“Perhaps I’m reading too much into this,” Heritage admits. You think?

Most audiences will likely not find much to object to in the ad, however. It’s a simple, lighthearted approach designed to make you smile — more or less what you’ expect from a John Lewis effort, but with a comic ending. That’s something people can appreciate after a dismal 2016 which included Brexit, the deaths of David BowiePrinceAlan Rickman and others, as well as the 2016 U.S. presidential election concluding with the election of an unqualified candidate who failed to win the popular vote. So don’t read too much into it, sit back, and forget about such issues for a minute.

Client: John Lewis
Customer Director: Craig Inglis
Head of Marketing, Brand & Social: Rachel Swift
Agency: adam&eveDDB
Chief Creative Officer: Ben Priest
Executive Creative Directors: Richard Brim, Ben Tollett
Copywriter: Ben Stilitz
Art Director: Colin Booth
Chief Strategy Officer: David Golding
Planning Partner: Martin Beverley
Managing Director: Tammy Einav
Business Director: Miranda Hipwell
Account Director: Caroline Grayson
Account Manager: Alice Child
Producer: Panos Louca
Assistant Producer: Sion Prys
Media Planning
Media Company: MGOMD
CEO: Tim Pearson
Executive Director, Head of Planning: Clare Peters
Head of Retail: David Bratt
Client Account Director: Andrew Darby
Client Account Director, Digital: Ric Roberts
Production Company: Blink Productions
Director: Dougal Wilson
Producer: Nick Goldsmith
DOP: Joost Van Gelder
Production Manager: Hannah Fowles-Pazdro
Production Assistant: Jack Bingham
Post Production Company: MPC
VFX Executive Producer: Julie Evans
VFX Producer: Hannah Ruddleston
VFX Line Producer: Sandra Ekland
Creative Director VFX, MPC: Diarmid Harrison-Murray
Colourist: Jean-Clément Soret
Shoot Supervisor: Tom Harding & Tito Fernandes
VFX Supervisor 3D: Fabian Frank
VFX Supervisor 2D: Tom Harding
Animation Supervisor: Tim van Hussen
3D VFX Team: Chloe Dawes, Anthony Bloor, Ben Thomas, Graham Cristie, Jessie
Amadio, Julien Labussiere, Luca Maccarelli, Matthew Gifford, Radu Ciubotariu, Tito
Fernandes, Tushar Kewali, Vincent Ullman, Will Laban, Hanna Binswanger, Max
Mallmann, Jessica Groom, Ankit Dheraj Toppo, Earnest Victor, Ganesh Kumar S., Bibin
Balan P, Gayatri Patel, Jyoti Prakash Panda, Manjunath Ramakrishnaiah, Inigo Vimal Roy,
Ria Banerjee, Gayatri Patel, Gerard Dunleavy
Animation Team: David Bryan, Boris Cailly, India Barnardo, Martyn Smith, Lou Thomas,
Cynthia Collins
2D VFX Team: Grant White, David Filipe, Andreas Feix, Alex Snookes, Venkatesh
Rajagopal, Ginesh Gandhi, Jonathan Box, Amresh Kumar, Padma Priya, Prasanth
Palaparthi, Rajesh Kumar, Shalwin Shaiju, Yasasvini. V, R Vignesh, S. Samson Samuel,
Shalwin Shaiju
Soundtrack name and composer: One Day I’ll Fly Away, Randy Crawford
Performed by: Vaults
Music Supervision Company: Leland Music
Music Supervisors: Abi Leland & Ed Bailie
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Design & Mix: Anthony Moore
Audio Producer: Becs Bell
Editing: Final Cut
Editor: Rick Russell
VR Experience
Production Company: MPC Creative
Executive Creative Director, MPC Creative: André Assalino
Interactive Creative Director, MPC Creative: Pete Conolly
Executive Producer: Dan Phillips
Lead Producer: Joana Flor
Senior Interactive Producer: Joana Guimarães
Interactive Production Assistant: Sinead Catney
Lead Tech Artists: Pablo Bravo and Cat Dixon
Lead UE Developer: David Pereira
UE Developer team: Dennis Ippel, Guiseppe Mattiolo, Thomas Lopez, Olivier Dumas,
Bertrand Leroy
Lead Unity Developer: Tim Porteous
Unity Developer: Vitor Castanheira
Front and Back-end Developer: Pedro Rocha
UI Designer: Gorkem Menekse
VFX Supervisors: Kumar Chandrasekaran – VFX HoP; Sean Mullen – VFX Creative
Director; David Kern – VFX Technical Director; Selvam Venkatesan, Praveen Madhyasta –
Animation; Anil Kumar Singh – Rigging
VFX Artists: Matthew Gifford; Tushar Kewlani; Raju Ganesh; Baskaran Seetharaman ;
Pritesh Krishnappa Kotian; Atheesh Sankaran; Ashish Kumar Chourasiya; Shivam Pandey;
Krishnendu Bikash Maity; Yogesh Gadge; Ganesh Mohan; Mithun Monga
Shashi Prakash Raj; Vivek Mangainath; Dhanesh Puthiyavalappil; Harwin Sebastien;
Srinivasa Sheelam; Aditya Shukla; Sminesh Sudevan
Senior VFX Producer: Tomek Zietkiewicz
VFX Production Supervisor: Devendra Kumar
VFX Producer: Prithi Amarnath
VFX Production Assistant: Lokesh Reddy
Tech Artist: Pravenn Thanvi
DMP: Michelle Tolo
Motion Designer: Jonny Eveson
Sound Design: 1618 Digital
Sound studio: ClearCut
VO Artist: Faye Ripley
Interactive, Print & Social
Interactive Creative Director: Till Diestel
Lead Interactive Producer: Budr Elnusairi
Integrated Producer: Laura Smith
Assistant Producers: Naomi Barrie, Laurelle May
Interactive Design Lead: Andrew Murray
Project Managers: Hatty Day, Hannah Dowty
Head of Design: Paul Knowles
Designer: Olly Watts
Design Company: King Henry
Head of cain&abel production: Brett Kelsey
Editor: Hannah Taylor
Editor: Joe Andrews
Editor: Paul Cheshire
Editor: James Ireland
Motion Graphic Designer: Ed Christie
Photographer: Noemie Bottiau
Interactive Designer: Adrian Baker
Interactive Designer: Megan Young
Interactive Designer: Jennifer Slack
Interactive Designer: Hashir Khan
Interactive Designer: Norman Lo
Bookings Manager: Serena Moll
Interactive Resource Manager: Jacinta Crane
Interactive Partner: Simon Adamson
Social Media Director: Viki Imrie
Social Media Strategist: Jess Taylor
Social Media Manager: Lauren Booty