John Lewis Christmas ad hype irritated customers last year, admits boss

John Lewis boss Andy Street has vowed the retailer will take a "much more modest approach" to its Christmas campaign this year after social media users said the brand was "getting too big for its boots".

The bear and the hare: 2013's Christmas TV ad for John Lewis
The bear and the hare: 2013's Christmas TV ad for John Lewis

Speaking at the World Retail Congress in Paris, the retailer's managing director admitted some consumers had been turned off by the hype in the run-up to the highly anticipated Christmas campaign last year.  

The Times newspaper quoted Street as admitting that internally questions had been raised around the decision to reveal the advert at a West End London cinema screening, saying: "I’m not quite sure about this — after all, you are just a shop — please don’t get above your station."

He said the comments were "fair" and that this year John Lewis would adopt "a much more modest approach to our Christmas activities this year", hinting that the retailer would look to dampen down some of the hype around its 2014 Christmas advert.

"What people basically said, and I feel embarrassed saying this, is that this brand might be getting a bit too big for its boots," Street said.

The 2013 animated Christmas spot, called "the bear and the hare", featured a bear and a hare that had never been able to spend Christmas together because of the bear’s hibernation.

As has become custom with John Lewis’ Christmas ads, it sent the Twittersphere into overdrive upon its release and items associated with the ad sold out in minutes online.

The previous year to that Adam & Eve/DDB created a 90-second spot featuring a snowman on a quest to a John Lewis store to buy a hat, gloves and scarf for his snowwoman girlfriend. The ad racked up more than 3.5 million views on YouTube.

The 2011 effort, "the long wait", featured a boy counting down the days to Christmas so that he could give his parents a present. It was viewed online more than 5.2m times.

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