The Wildlife Trusts is the beneficiary charity for this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert "Buster the Boxer", which marks a departure from the downbeat tone of last year’s "Man on the Moon" advert for Age UK.
The Wildlife Trusts will receive 10 per cent from the sale of soft toys based on characters in the advert, which features animals bouncing on a trampoline that has been given to a young girl as a Christmas present.
John Lewis said its latest advert was designed to make people smile. Rachel Swift, head of brand marketing at John Lewis, said at a conference last week that the 2015 advert had prompted concerns because of its gloominess.
A spokeswoman for John Lewis told Third Sector the change in approach wasn’t a reaction to the reception given to "Man on the Moon, which she said had been positive, but rather an independent decision based on what the company believed the public would want to see this year.
"Buster the Boxer", which will tonight be broadcast for the first time on terrestrial television, on ITV, tells the two-minute tale of a dog called Buster and his family at Christmas, set to a cover version of the song One Day I’ll Fly Away.
The John Lewis spokeswoman said that the retailer approached the Wildlife Trusts directly about the partnership and there was no competitive process. "It was an obvious choice, given that the advert is all about wildlife," she said.
John Lewis will make a 10 per cent donation to the Wildlife Trusts from the sale of soft toys based on the characters that feature in the advert.
The retailer has also worked with the charity on a number of educational tools designed to encourage an interest in wildlife among children. The tools will be available online.
The retailer’s spokeswoman said there was no financial target for the partnership. A spokeswoman for the Wildlife Trusts said the charity had no expectations about how much it would receive.
Neither John Lewis nor Age UK were able to say how much the 2015 advert had raised, but it had been expected to bring in hundreds of thousands of pounds.
This year’s advert is understood to have cost about £7m in total, most of which was spent buying slots on television and the internet, and on marketing. It was created by the advertising agency adam&eveDDB, with media planning and buying by Manning Gottlieb OMD.
Craig Inglis, customer director at John Lewis, said in a statement: "Each year we work with a charity which fits our ad, and we hope this year’s campaign will encourage more children to discover a love of British wildlife and encourage support of the Wildlife Trusts."
Stephanie Hilborne, chief executive of the Wildlife Trusts, said in a statement: "John Lewis putting some of our most beautiful British wild animals at the centre of their Christmas advert and making the Wildlife Trusts their charity of choice this Christmas is great news. With this support we will be able to inspire thousands more children about the wonders of the natural world."
The new advert is the 10th consecutive Christmas advert from John Lewis. Its first was created in 2007; filming is usually done in July.