OK -- so the new ad from John Lewis is great. It's the usual stuff. Mum and dad can associate with the mum and dad characters, particularly us dads who have snagged our fingers on Christmas Eve putting together surprise presents for the next morning while our nearest and dearest are fast asleep waiting for the big man to ride by. A laconic version of "I'll Fly Away" plays in the background as an assortment of wild life bounce around the trampoline that is waiting for its new owner in the morning. Boxer The Dog sees it all, of course, and gets in on the act the moment the garden is opened up for a little girl to discover her big present.
It's fine -- there's emotion, wildlife and so on. It's classic John Lewis. Only. Is it? Anyone remember what happened when a bunch of neuroscientists were asked to rate last Christmas' tv ads? John Lewis didn't win. Burberry did. If you recall, the luxury retailer had a host of celebrities (James Cordon, Naomi Campbell, Romeo Beckham...) bouncing on a trampoline in slow motion to a bit of T-Rex. It was all modeled on Billy Elliot. There was a very simple reason we were supposed to have loved it. Repetition. Adverts are like music, the neuroscientists tell us, we love to get in to the rhythm and can anticipate what's coming next, even if we didn't know who. In fact, that's even better. Repetition with some surprises thrown in for good measure.
Sound familiar? Swap out celebrities for a bunch of wildlife and a boxer dog and we're not a million miles away, are we?
Not convinced? OK -- so go to YouTube, search for "Burberry Christmas Advert 2015" and see who's advertising right at the top of the search results. Yes, you guessed it, there he is, Buster The Boxer.
At the very least, then, we can acknowledge that John Lewis may have been inspired by last year's ad and convinced by the neuroscientists' opinion on why it was the best ad for the previous festive season.