John Lewis scoops the last Thinkboxes of 2016

John Lewis’ Christmas spot “Buster the Boxer”, created by Adam & Eve/DDB, was selected by The Thinkbox Academy as winner of the November/December 2016 Thinkboxes award for TV ad creativity.

In the ad, a man assembles a trampoline in the garden on Christmas Eve while his daughter sleeps. Overnight, local wildlife play on it while Buster, the dog of the house, looks on enviously from indoors. On Christmas morning, Buster races the overjoyed girl to her present and beats her to the first bounce.

The aim of the ad, set to a cover of Randy Crawford’s One Day I’ll Fly Away, was to capture the joy of a gift that everyone loves and raise a smile after a year many found challenging.

“Christmas ads have become fiercely competitive, so we’re delighted to have received this accolade,” says Rachel Swift, John Lewis' Head of Marketing.

“Buster the Boxer” was directed by Dougal Wilson; the production company was Blink.

“Christmas with love” for Marks & Spencer, created by RKCR/Y&R, won second place in the Thinkboxes winners’ line-up. Ranked third was H&M’s “Come together”, directed by Grand Budapest Hotel director Wes Anderson – another Adam & Eve/DDB creation.


It embraces a sense of fun and magic, reminding everyone how it feels to give the perfect gift at Christmas. We hope this ad will encourage more children to discover a love of British wildlife, and encourage support of The Wildlife Trusts.

Craig Inglis Customer Director, John Lewis

Client Craig Inglis Customer Director, John Lewis; Creative Agency adam&eveDDB; Creative team Ben Priest, Ben Tollett, Richard Brim, Ben Stilitz and Colin Booth; Production company Blink; Director Dougal Wilson

Other ads on the podium 

M&S: Christmas with love (2nd)

We all know about Santa, but what does Mrs Claus get up to on the big night? Here, her exploits are reminiscent of a Bond film as she swoops in on a helicopter to fulfil a last-minute gift request. This ad was part of Marks & Spencer’s most immersive campaign to date, featuring social-media takeovers, editorial promotions and a Mrs Claus emoji in addition to the TV work.

  • Creative agency RKCR/Y&R
  • Creative team Psembi Kinstan, Alice Burton
  • ClientIra Dubinsky
  • Production company Smuggler
  • Director Tom Hooper 

H&M: Come together (3rd)

H&M turned to Wes Anderson, director of The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Darjeeling Limited, for this lavish Christmas offering in his distinctive style. An exotic cast of H&M-attired characters have to celebrate Christmas aboard a transcontinental train delayed by heavy snow. But all is not lost – the conductor and stewards improvise an impromptu party in the restaurant car.

  • Creative agency adam&eveDDB
  • Creative team Ben Priest, Ben Tollett, Richard Brim, Till Diestel, Tim Vance, Paul Knott
  • Client Erik Zetterberg
  • Production company The Directors Bureau/Riff Raff Films
  • Director Wes Anderson

Also shortlisted 

Babbel: Messy dress

People are often motivated to learn a new language so they can more fully connect with the locals. Here Babbel transports us to an English country-house setting, populated with costume-drama characters, and invites us to identify with an everyman who’s doing his best to make conversation. He doesn’t do badly in the end – and, naturally, the scene ends with a cup of tea.

  • Creative agency Wieden & Kennedy
  • Creative team S Bodoh, M Batten, B Shaffery, T Davidson, K Papworth, I Tait
  • Client Sylvain Lierre
  • Production company Somesuch
  • Director Sam Hibbard

Heathrow: Bear home

Throughout its 70-year existence, Heathrow Airport has reconnected people with loved ones – an especially important role at Christmas. To amplify the emotional intensity of the reunion scenes, the agency used teddies Edward and Doris Bair to tell the story of grandparents travelling to a festive gathering. At the end, as they’re greeted by their family, they morph back to humans.

  • Creative agency Havas Creative
  • Creative team Ben Mooge, Daniel Bolton, Barnaby Packham
  • Client Rebecca White
  • Production company Outsider/ The Mill
  • Director Dom & Nic

Click here to see who won the previous award

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