John Lewis Christmas Ad - Who is Buster the Boxer?

Sally Ward

John Lewis Christmas Ad - Who is Buster the Boxer?

The John Lewis Christmas advert is arguably becoming as much a marker for the ‘start of the festive season’ as the famous (and enormously catchy) Holidays are Coming Coca Cola adverts!

Released on the 10th of November, the 2016 John Lewis advert is not the heartstring-pulling “sadvert” we’ve come to expect.

Instead, the brand has instead chosen to put a smile on the face of the UK. Always known for a tear-jerker, we thought this year would be no different, especially when the slow version of One Day I’ll Fly away performed by the electronic trio Vaults started to play over the opening scene.

However, instead of sadness we were treated to joy when woodland creatures appeared and began frolicking on a trampoline:

Further creatures followed, having lots of fun on the Christmas present of Bridget – an unsuspecting little girl asleep in her bed.

Although the bouncing CGI animals are incredibly cute, Buster the Boxer has been labelled the star of the show. Throughout the ad he looks on as foxes, a badger and other woodland animals take the limelight. Right until the end. On Christmas morning the little girl wakes up and runs outside to see her Christmas present surrounded by snow.

Just as she is about to go for a jump Buster runs through and gets there first. With further CGI work he has a whale of a time while Bridget can do nothing but stand there looking shocked.

With the intended message of the advert being ‘gifts that everyone will love’ the trampoline certainly brings joy to many before Bridget gets a go.

Interestingly, the Guardian didn’t focus on this message and have instead written an article with a different slant, comparing Buster the boxer to Donald Trump and Bridget to Hillary Clinton. This approach will certainly get people to read the article however not sure that’s quite the angle John Lewis were going for!

Whatever your thoughts on the ad, it’s yet again great work. The advert created in Black Island Studios in London apparently cost around £1million to make and a further £6million is rumoured to be spent on television slots making sure as much of the nation see it as possible.

I for one welcome the change in putting a smile on our face instead of bringing a tear…after the year we’ve had so far, I think the UK needs it.

John Lewis Christmas advert FAQ

One sign that the ad has been a hit is the rush of questions about its production and stars so we’ll do our best to answer some of the most common questions.

Who is Buster the Boxer?

Buster is actually called Biff, and he resides in Bedfordshire with two other boxers, Betty and Darcy.

Similar to other iconic media figures, five year old Biff was spotted by the production team at his training club while they were searching for a “very handsome dog” to be the star of the John Lewis commercial.

What is the music in the John Lewis Christmas advert?

As mentioned, the cover of Randy Crawford’s 1980 single One Day I’ll Fly Away is by Vaults.

Vaults, consisting of lead singer Blythe Pepino, producer Ben Vella, and multi-instrumentalist Barney Freeman have not released any albums before though their Cry No More EP was released in 2015.

On a racier note, their music has featured in the 50 Shades of Grey Movie.

Where was the John Lewis advert filmed?

The commercial was filmed entirely in Black Island studios in London, on a set constructed to look like a typical townhouse.

How much did the John Lewis Christmas advert cost?

The 2016 John Lewis Christmas advert reportedly cost cost around £1m to make and has been coupled with a £6m spend for TV advertising. The spend on PPC, Snapchat co-promotion and print advertising is unclear, but the company looks to recoup some of the spend through sales of merchandise created around Buster and his woodland friends.


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