Heartwarming and full of plot holes: Our review of John Lewis' 2016 Christmas advert, Buster the Boxer

William Turvill
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This year’s John Lewis Christmas advert, Buster the Boxer, has everything we have come to expect of the now hotly-anticipated generator of the festive feeling.

It’s heartwarming, it’s full of plot holes and it makes you want to visit to retailer’s flagship store on Oxford Street.

On the heartwarming front, it begins with a little girl, Bridget, who opens the video excitedly bouncing on her bed on Christmas Eve. She then wakes up on Christmas morning to find a trampoline (bought for between £180 and £290, according to the prices on John Lewis’s website) in her back garden.

The gift was assembled by her loving father in snowy conditions the night before. As he sits inside watching television with his wife, two foxes – Otto and Olivia – begin bouncing gaily on the trampoline. They are soon joined by Betsy the badger, Hallie the hedgehog and Sid the squirrel.

All the while, the family boxer dog, Buster (who will be known on social media as #BusterTheBoxer), watches on enviously.

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Then, early the next morning, as a wide-eyed Bridget runs to climb on to her trampoline, Buster beats her to it, bouncing merrily to the tune of “One Day I’ll Fly Away”, performed by London band Vaults.

The plot holes: call me Scrooge, if you must – but where to begin?

Bridget and her family appear to reside in an urban area. In urban areas, foxes aren’t cute. They’re generally considered vermin.

Otto and Olivia might have rabies. They’d be dirty. Sadly, they’d probably have mangled tails. In the excitement of bouncing on the trampoline, they’d no doubt shriek loudly, not only attracting the attention of Bridget’s parents, but likely waking up the whole neighbourhood.

And the worst part, once they’d finished with the trampoline – tearing holes in it with their claws and possibly defecating on the surface – they’d be rooting through the bins, creating an awful mess for Bridget’s parents to clean up.

Badgers, squirrels and hedgehogs probably aren’t much better.

Also – no offence to Bridget’s caring parents – but a trampoline is a terrible Christmas present. They are, in my experience, largely unusable outside of the summer months and could rust in the winter weather.

Those points aside, it’s another win for John Lewis.

Plots are fun to pick apart, but in reality it’s a heartwarming advert that will fill most with a warm, excited feeling ahead of Christmas and the long queues waiting for them in John Lewis.

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More details

John Lewis has chosen the Wildlife Trusts as its charity partner for the Christmas campaign.

John Lewis’ Oxford Street store will be bringing the advert to life with a virtual reality experience using Oculus Rift.

The retailer is partnering with Snapchat to create a bespoke Buster lense, available until midnight. Bespoke Twitter stickers are also available until 13 November.

The advert, and a ‘making the ad’ video, will be available on Sky Go and On Demand.

The first terrestrial TV airing will be this evening on ITV at around 9.15.

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