News & Views

John Lewis / The Bear and The Hare

by Contagious I/O

UK-based department store John Lewis has revealed its 2013 Christmas advert, which features an animated story of Bear and his faithful friend, Hare. The spot, including music from Lily Allen, premiered on 9 November.

To support the advert, John Lewis has created additional experiences, all hosted on the brand's site. Firstly, an interactive ebook, narrated by radio DJ Lauren Laverne, tells the story of The Bear who had never seen Christmas. Users can also decorate a tree and 'tap in-time' to a woodland orchestra playing festive tunes.

The site features a Christmas Card Maker, enabling people to create a personalised card featuring the characters from the advert. Having designed a card, users can then share it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+, and can also print it or attach it to an email.

Bear and Hare each have their own Twitter accounts, as well a joint account, where they tweet such gems as 'ZzzzzzzzzzsniffzzzzzzzzzzZ' (that was Bear, of course).

Finally, the track featured in the spot, Lily Allen's version of Somewhere Only We Know, is available for download from iTunes.

'The John Lewis Christmas' became a trending topic on Twitter in the UK on the day of the ad's launch.

Via London-based agency adam&eveddb, and production houses Blinkink and Hornet

Contagious Insight

John Lewis is turning emotional impact into active engagement with a smart digital extension of its much-anticipated 2013 advert.

The British public now associates John Lewis with powerful, emotionally-charged Christmas spots. In 2009, noticing that most retailers were emphasising how fun shopping was in their stores, John Lewis repositioned itself as 'the home of thoughtful giving, celebrating those who put more care into what they chose and how they present it' (IPA Case Study, 2012, Grand Prix winner). Since this shift, the brand has used the emotive medium of TV to convey this message.

However, the success of these adverts has also relied heavily upon social sharing and conversation. As the IPA entry suggests: 'an active engagement is more likely to lead to behavioural change than merely passive consumption of paid-for airtime.' And while previous adverts have addressed this need (since 2010, for example, all adverts premiere on Facebook before TV), this is the first year that the retailer has specifically designed additional features to further encourage this 'active engagement'.

The ebook and cards are natural extensions, both of which should help generate this behavioural change. And the bespoke song, too, should maximise John Lewis's return on investment. Radio airplay on its 2010 track, Sweet Child O'Mine, generated an advertising value equivalent of £14.6m ($23.5m) throughout the course of the campaign.

John Lewis is already one of the great advertising success stories of recent years. Its advertising strategy has delivered an impressive £1,074m ($1,728m) of incremental sales and £261m ($419m) of incremental profit since 2009. And by extending its emotionally-charged Christmas advert with a host of smart digital features, it's likely that Christmas 2013 will continue to encourage this behavioural change.

The Bear and the Hare

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O. Contagious I/O is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world.

For more information about Contagious I/O