In short, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
But, as stalwart TV viewers will know, nothing’s really merry and bright until the John Lewis Christmas advert hits our screens for the first time. And now, that day has arrived – and, thankfully, it’s as moving as ever.
At a time when many people are feeling sad and angry about the state of the world, the new advert – which hit TV screens this morning – acts as a balm for the soul. It tells the story of a little girl with a new trampoline, her wistful boxer dog Buster, and lots of bouncy forest animals, from foxes to badgers and hedgehogs.
Four-year-old pooch Biff was picked from dozens of other boxers to play Buster, thanks in no small part to his exceptionally “expressive” face.
But while Buster and the family in the advert are real, the other animals – who are shown enjoying a snowy bouncing session on a little girl’s new Christmas trampoline – were created using CGI and “Nasa-style physics” to make sure everything about them looked as lifelike as possible.
As is the norm with John Lewis Christmas ads, the heart-warming tale of a little girl and her dog has been given a pleasingly schmaltzy soundtrack in the form of a cover by British electronic group Vaults.
The musicians have put their own spin on Randy Crawford's 1980 jazz hit One Day I'll Fly Away for the short film.
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Because no self-respecting marketing campaign in 2016 would be complete without a bit of social media magic, a special #BusterTheBoxer filter will be available on Snapchat for 24 hours from the advert’s first screening. Buster toys will also be on sale in John Lewis stores, with 10% of proceeds going to the Wildlife Trust.
Mercifully, the advert isn’t be as heart-breaking as last year’s Man on the Moon, which featured a lonely and elderly spaceman using a telescope to forge a relationship with a little girl.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Rachel Swift – the head of brand marketing at John Lewis – said: "We still had a great response for Man on the Moon, but there were a few murmurings about it being a bit sad and did it touch people in slightly the wrong way? So we've been really thinking about that.”
You can watch the full advert below:
Watch all of the John Lewis Christmas adverts...
Shadows – 2007
From Me to You – 2008
Sweet Child O’ Mine – 2009
A Tribute to Givers – 2010
The Long Wait – 2011
The Journey – 2012
The Bear and the Hare – 2013
Monty the Penguin – 2014
Man on the Moon – 2015