John Lewis go digital first with their Christmas offering

Department store John Lewis are one of the most established names in British retail, and their Christmas ads are usually a highlight of the festive season.

This year they have been decidedly modern and forward thinking with their Christmas campaign. Their lovely  advert, “The Bear and The Hare”, has appeared on their official YouTube channel today, well over 24 hours before it makes its television debut in tomorrow night’s X-Factor.

As the name might suggest, the advert features a bear and a hare. They are friends, but can’t spend Christmas together as the bear always goes to hibernate, leaving the hare rather sad amongst all the other forest animals. This until he leaves an alarm clock for the bear outside his cave as a gift that wakes him up in time to join the others for Christmas day, under the strapline “Give someone a Christmas they’ll never forget.”

The ad is a hand drawn, stop animation spot, features Lily Allen singing a cover of Keane’s “Somewhere only we know”, and as is a cute as it sounds. Think “The Animas of Farthing Wood” with Christmas presents.

As well as going ‘YouTube’ first, John Lewis have really embraced the digital side of the campaign, giving the two characters their own twitter accounts, changing the banner on their Facebook page, and plugging the ad a lot on their official social media channels.

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Singer Lily Allen also tweeted her excitement a the campaign launched:

You can follow the bear at @JohnLewis_Bear, and the hare at @JohnLewis_Hare, and the whole campaign can be followed at @JL_BearandHare. There has also been a lot of conversation online about the spot, using the hashtag #bearandhare. While the numbers on all the different aspects of the digital campaign aren’t huge yet, it’s great to see a traditional brand like John Lewis finding innovative new ways to communicate it’s campaign.

Craig Inglis, marketing director, John Lewis, explains:

“We wanted our advert to reflect the importance of finding the right gift for friends and loved ones, a theme which we have built on for a number of years. Through the use of hand-crafted animation, we’re hoping to evoke nostalgia and build anticipation ahead of Christmas.”

It will be worth watching to see how John Lewis build on this digital launch in the run up to Christmas, and how much they utilise the channels they have built today, particularly after the big launch tomorrow when the take an entire ad break in X-Factor.