David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

John Lewis
"Buster the Boxer"
2 mins
10 November 2016
UK Department Stores

As the world reels in revulsion at the decision to put Donald Trump in The White House, one wise Twitter user summed up the mood of the nation. Philip Westerman used the social media platform to say: "The John Lewis Christmas advert better be fucking spectacular". Well, we've got news for you, Mr Westerman... for the next two minutes, everything's going to be all right because it is "fucking spectacular".

A week after John Lewis picked up the Grand Prix at the IPA Effectiveness Awards for the second year running, the engraver will be thinking he might as well have popped their name on next year's trophy. adam&eveDDB and Dougal Wilson have taken on the highest expectations in the world of advertising and absolutely smashed them by delivering a truly brilliant film.

There has been a creeping danger that this landmark ad was eventually going to collapse under the weight of its own sentimentality. Amidst the praise received by the last couple of instalments has been a murmuring of dissent which could easily have grown into a backlash. But this execution shuffles the tone from out-and-out pathos toward a lighter, funnier vibe and the move has been judged to perfection.

MPC's CGI work is sensational. So good that many viewers will be wondering how they trained the animals to jump on a trampoline. And the craft that's gone into their condensating breath takes the VFX to another level.

It is loaded with wonderful moments that reward repeated viewing: Buster's joyous face with his tongue flapping when he finally gets his turn on the trampoline; the look of wonder on the young girl's face, swiftly supplanted by a moment of perplexment as Buster races past; the soundtrack dropping out as we gain a perspective from a passing neighbour.

But it is more than the sum of these gorgeous parts and even though many people resist the idea that a piece of advertising heralds the start of the festive season, this film completely justifies the notion. So let's put the last forty-eight hours behind us and eat, drink and be merry... for next year Trump has the nuclear codes.

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John Lewis
"Buster the Boxer"
2 mins
10 Nov 2016
As the world reels in revulsion at the decision to put Donald Trump in The White House, one wise Twitter user summed up the mood of the nation. Philip Westerman used the social media platform to say: "The John Lewis Christmas advert better be fucking spectacular". Well, we've got news for you, Mr Westerman... for the next two minutes, everything's going to be all right because it is "fucking spectacular".

John Lewis
"Man on the Moon"
2 mins
6 Nov 2015
The anticipation ahead of the John Lewis Christmas commercial grows and grows and this year it's been so great that the backlash began before anyone had even seen it. Those silly naysayers have - as you might expect - just been completely trumped by the film itself which is unerringly beautiful.

John Lewis
"On The Moon"
10s
4 Nov 2015
This is a tiny teaser to whet our appetite for the main event. What's with the intriguing glimpse of the moon through the telescope? And once we know, this becomes an emotive reminder of all that the John Lewis Christmas ad stands for this year - bringing love and company into lives that inadvertently pass us by, as remote and silent as our eternal satellite.

John Lewis
"Tiny Dancer"
90s
21 Aug 2015
In a performance worthy of Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine, a young girl dances her heart out around the house. In her mind important folk from the Royal Ballet are secretly watching and whispering: "Who is this gifted creature? We must have her for our very own." In reality, she's merely fortunate to have parents with home insurance that indemnifies the resultsof her more enthusiastic moves.

John Lewis
"Monty the Penguin"
2 mins
6 Nov 2014
A remarkable aspect of the John Lewis Christmas phenomenon is the way adam&eveDDB take the annual anticipation in their stride and make it work totally to the advantage of the brand. Fulfilling expectations after success is so difficult we even have a name for it - that "difficult second album syndrome" - but this Christmas institution is already onto its sixth album and there's no sense of any difficulty in maintaining the quality. Indeed, this year's may be the best yet.

John Lewis
"Christmas Ad Teaser"
10s
2 Nov 2014
Here's an intriguing little teaser (as of course teasers should be) for this year's John Lewis ad. We're not told it's for the revered department store - instead we see an animated penguin on a coach with the hashtag 'MontyThePenguin' in the corner below a super for Gogglebox. The fact the there's also a super saying 'advertisement' provides a clue that we'll see it during an ad break in the programme - making it very clever way to generate anticipation.

John Lewis
"150 Years"
90s
4 May 2014
It's a sign of their well-earned confidence that with every ad, John Lewis seems to move further and further away from showing any hint of product. In this 90 second spot celebrating 150 years of "never standing still", we see a selection of vignettes showing memorable moments that typical customers have experienced throughout that time.

John Lewis
"Clearance Sale"
20s
28 Dec 2013
Strangely, this doesn't feel at all like a John Lewis ad, even though it's a clearance ad rather than a branding one. The minimalism's very stylish, and the reminder that there's a two year guarantee on sales goods is smart, but the very sparseness of this makes it seem as if there's not a lot left to pick through.

John Lewis
"The Bear and the Hare"
2 mins
8 Nov 2013
John Lewis's Christmas effort is now well established as the 'daddy', and the clamour ahead of this year's unveiling has been quite remarkable. Is it worth all the fuss? Of course it is. Like last year, there's a notable absence of humans in the ad and this proves a wise choice as it allows an unremitting level of sentimentality.

John Lewis
"Sleeping Bear Teaser"
10s
6 Nov 2013
Sometime in the next twenty-four hours, the advertising media are going to explode with excitement as the new John Lewis Christmas ad is shown for the first time. And, from the looks of this cheeky tease, it's animation all the way this year... unless this is a classic piece of misdirection.

John Lewis
"Things Matter"
90s
18 Aug 2013
Dougal Wilson has worked his usual magic in the latest commercial for John Lewis. When an ad campaign is brimming with confidence, every execution swaggers into our commercial breaks with an aura which ensures we all look up and pay attention, and no current advertiser has more confidence than John Lewis.

John Lewis
"Old Fitness Equipment"
50s
17 Jan 2013
A middle-aged man examines all the old sports equipment in his garage as a gentle version of the Grandstand theme music plays. Everything is ruined and its disrepair is a poignant reminder of the fitness he once had and wants to possess once again. John Lewis promise they'll provide the ideal replacement for dilapidated stuff if you send them a photo of it.

John Lewis
"The Journey"
90s
9 Nov 2012
An utterly lovely commercial for John Lewis to mark Christmas... again. Following last year's brilliance was always going to be difficult but it cannot be doubted that they've succeeded with this wonderfully involving tale of devotion. Doff your hats to Adam&EveDDB and Mr Dougal Wilson.

John Lewis
"The Other Half"
90s
14 Sep 2012
The couple in this commercial aren't going to let anything come between them... not even eighty years or so. Through a split screen, we see their unlikely romance progress before we're reminded that John Lewis's arcane promise that they're "never knowingly undersold" remains as true today as when they first made it.

John Lewis
"The Long Wait"
90s
11 Nov 2011
A young boy's wait for Christmas Day seems unending but, despite the soundtrack, his motives are neither selfish or materialistic. It's a lovely twist and there are some beautiful moments here but it's not as clear as it could be and we wonder if viewers will see beyond the initial impression that we're watching a lad waiting impatiently for his Christmas presents.

John Lewis
"Through The Ages"
60s
17 Sep 2011
Each of these vignettes is lovely but what's going on with the order in which they've been put? We have a perfectly excellent system called 'chronology' that's served us extremely well over the years... why reject it? Sort it out... literally.

John Lewis
"A Tribute To Givers"
60s
12 Nov 2010
An utterly charming ad for the department store which meets the high expectations generated by its Christmas advertising. This tribute to givers offers a wryly amusing look at the difficulties of wrapping and concealing gifts. And it's beautifully poignant.

John Lewis
"Always A Woman"
90s
23 Apr 2010
This utterly beautiful minute-and-a-half somehow manages to encapsulate a woman's entire life from babyhood to elegant seniority. The film is dripping in sentimentality but Blink's Dougal Wilson gives it so much warmth and humanity that it's utterly irresistible.

John Lewis
"Sweet Child Of Mine"
70s
15 Nov 2009
A charming montage of superbly photographed sequences of children taking delight in Christmas presents uses a folk version of the Guns & Roses track, Sweet Child Of Mine as a musical accompaniment. John Lewis's Christmas ad, once again, is a cut above the rest.

John Lewis
"Chemistry Set"
10s
1 Dec 2008
This young man's eyes light up when he realises that someone has bought him a chemistry set for Christmas. We are actually quite surprised that such things still exist... presumably, these days, they don't contain anything combustible or poisonous.

John Lewis
"Afghan"
10s
1 Dec 2008
A short postscript to this year's John Lewis Christmas campaign coincidentally uses the same idea as a new commercial for Philips as an Afghan hound provides a perfect illustration of what can be done with hair straightening equipment.

John Lewis
"From Me To You"
60s
10 Nov 2008
A clever reworking of The Beatles song 'From Me To You' is used beautifully in this attractive ad which is guaranteed to grab the attention. Last year's Christmas ad was a hard act to follow and John Lewis were wise to steer down a different path. As it was last year, the brand positioning is spot on.

John Lewis
"Inspired By Spring"
40s
1 Apr 2008
Interesting follow up to John Lewis's popular Christmas commercial offers four different interpretations of Spring. As with its predecessor, stylishness is central and the sense that the department store is a little bit special is very successfully underlined.

John Lewis
"Shadows"
60s
5 Nov 2007
A really clever commercial for the store that's famously "never knowingly undersold" constructs a Christmas montage in silhouette using goods available in the shop. It's a really triumphant piece of art direction beautifully realised by Partizan's Michael Gracey.

John Lewis
"Clearance Sale"
20s
25 Dec 2004


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David Reviews - Lovely Lenzie Ltd, Woodbourne House, Seven Sisters, Lenzie, G66 3AW. Telephone: +44 141 776 7766. Editor: Jason Stone.