Jeremy Lee: Buster the boxer and Donald Trump have something in common

It takes a particularly twisted commitment to joylessness to make a comparison between John Lewis' Christmas ad and the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States.

Cue the Guardian and Stuart Heritage’s (presumably tongue-in-cheek) paean that the John Lewis ad, which shows a dog beating a little girl to her trampoline, was an allegory to Trump defeating Hillary Clinton in the election.

"Watch the advert while listening to Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. I dare you. It’s heartbreaking. John Lewis, you’ve done the impossible. You’ve made 2016 worse", he writes.

Oh dear. The ad is supposed to be a bit of seasonal fun. And anyway, having achieved more than 30,000 mentions on Twitter in the first two hours since its release (of which 82% said it made them happy according to Brandwatch), it’s probably only some Guardian journalists who refuse to suspend their disbelief and over-think its meaning.

Still, Heritage’s incoherent spoutings continue to confirm just how the release of the John Lewis festive offering is to our collective consciousness. And it is to the consistency and credit of the Adam & Eve/DDB team and, of course, John Lewis’s long-standing marketing chief Craig Inglis that they have managed to achieve this.

But they don’t need any plaudits from me – the agency's groaning awards cabinet does that already – while the number of "me too" ads seemingly inspired by the John Lewis shtick show no sign of abating.

The most surprising of these being Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s "Going home" spot for Audi – it’s quality as you’d expect from this body of work and agency, but seems to borrow heavily from the John Lewis genre.

Now that A&E/DDB has served up its Christmas fayre, what now for the founders of the agency? Their earn-out has been completed so what are they going to do next?

Having won Campaign’s Agency of the Year for the past two years running and with their bank balances over-brimming, what fire is left in their bellies?

Certainly its new business record has been somewhat muted this year, having maxed out in 2015 – cynics might suggest so that their final earn-out payment would have been at the highest level they could achieve (and who can blame them for that?).

Sadly they are tight-lipped for now – rumours of moving into network roles or retiring to their counting houses or even as some suggest another start-up (surely not) have so far come to naught.

But when Murphy, Golding, Priest and Forsyth do decide to up sticks, whether individually or as a group, the agency that they’ll leave behind won’t be the same.

But they will have a left a considerable mark on the face of British advertising that means that the best of their work is considered to be a reference to the prevailing political climate or a bellwether of our collective national well being.

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