#BusterTheDog Is Number One For All The Right, And Wrong, Reasons

Call off the hunt -- it looks like we have already discovered the answer to who has won Christmas, and we're more than a week away from Black Friday. However, this year, there's good news and bad for John Lewis -- the brand is once again leading the pack. It may have won the coveted unofficial prize of top Christmas ad yet again, but it's also now front and centre with the #StopFundingHate campaign.

First the good news. A couple of days ago we learned that #BusterTheBoxer has already become the most shared UK Christmas ad ever. Needless to say, the stiff competition which it surpassed, came from its own #ManOnTheMoon from last year. Now today we're finding out that it also the most emotionally engaging Christmas ad of all time. Realeyes measured facial reaction to this year's ad and found it scored better than 95% of the 5,700 ads it has ever tested. What's more, among women under 30, it scored better than 99% of any of the ads is has ever tested.

interestingly, although Buster has to beat the Man on the Moon to become the most shared festive ad, last year's ad was not the most emotionally engaging that John Lewis has ever produced. Until Boxer was released, that accolade actually belonged to 2011's The Long Wait (the one where the young lad is dying to give his parents a present). So, this year's ad is the right creative at the right time. it's emotionally engaging and has landed when social sharing is higher than ever, propelling the bouncing dog to the top of the podium when it comes to festive social. 

So what's the bad bit? Well, as I predicted earlier this week, #StopFundingHate is seeing massive growth. Throughout the year, media observers will have tracked the rise of this anti-tabloid movement -- which is primarily aimed at convincing advertising to drop the Daily Mail, as well as The Sun and occasionally, The Express. The Mail seems to generally be the focus, but that can shift depending on headlines. The recent drubbing handed out to judges who ruled that a split with the EU had to be approved by parliament got all three papers propelled to the front of the queue of titles the campaign group says should be avoided.

The campaign has now "brandjacked" the John Lewis campaign, and that of its sister company, Waitrose, to ask supporters to lobby the brands to avoid the aforementioned tabloids. Campaign reported this morning that 11% of all mentions of #BusterTheDog are now mentioning the campaign. In my opinion, this will only go up. Between the 10th and 14th November, Campaign further reports, there were 75,000 mentions of Lego and The Daily Mail name-checking the campaign, as the toy company decided to drop The Daily Mail.

John Lewis is so far holding steady. A spokesperson has said they do not make advertising decisions based around editorial judgements. I really rather suspect this will soon no longer be the case. If you have pumped millions in to becoming yet again the top festive campaign, would you really want that success tarnished by a sizeable proportion of social shares flagging up your links with a paper they deem has treated immigrants unfairly? And for what purpose? Is there anyone who reads The Daily Mail who can't be reached by your tv ad that runs several times a night? I wouldn't have thought so.

As I said earlier in the week, the #StopFundingHate campaign will play a very noisy role in this year's run up to Christmas -- and as John Lewis is finding out, that is not a very comfortable place to be when you're the number one game in town, putting you right in the sights of the campaigners. Given the cooperatively run brand's CSR credentials, it really isn't a conversation it would choose to be having instead of enjoying its trampolining boxer being a massive hit.

This campaign has legs. Four of them, in fact. And they're trampolining several times per night on a television near you nightly.

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