High profile wildlife themes in latest Christmas adverts….

I am not a big one for Christmas in early November and my Christmas tree rarely goes up earlier than a week before…. and is usually back down before the end of December! This week, however, the big store Christmas adverts are out and I have been warmed by the strong wildlife themes in two of these; John Lewis and Waitrose.

The first to appear was the Waitrose offering,  the story of a little girl called Bridget who loves to bounce.When her mum and dad buy her a trampoline for Christmas, they soon
discover that she isn’t the only one with a passion for jumping. A John Lewis spokesman admitted there had been concern that last year’s Man on the Moon advert had been too bleak and the department store was moving away from so-called “sadvertising”.

This year’s advert, shot entirely on a set made to look like an townhouse in Black Island studios in London, cost around £1m to make and features incredibly realistic CGI versions of  Buster, foxes, badgers, squirrels and hedgehogs.

I was captivated by the advert, watching it several times to marvel in the CGI skills of the animals! To me, it was fantastic to see British wildlife depicted in a positive way, in an urban setting. The addition of John Lewis working with The Wildlife Trusts gave this another positive slant;

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‘The Wildlife Trusts are delighted to be John Lewis’s Charity campaign partner. This year’s John Lewis Christmas advert celebrates – with sparkle and a flash of magic – the joy of wild encounters.’

The page of The Wildlife Trust website links their activities to the theme:

10% of the sale of soft toys from the ad will be donated to The Wildlife Trusts, to allow them to inspire even more children to love British wildlife. 

Along with me, The Wildlife Trusts believe passionately that nature is essential to children’s wellbeing. There are an array of health and social benefits to be derived from contact with the natural world and I see this every week within my work with children  It is not rocket-science that first-hand contact with nature is good for children!

There are also a range of activities for children and schools.

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The Wildlife Trusts aim to use the funds donated by John Lewis to work within schools, including funding wildlife packs for schools, containing activity booklets, and ‘wildlife’ resources for teachers to use in lessons.

I am a kind of ‘glass half-full’ kind of person, so was pleased to see British wildlife portrayed in such a prestigious advert. I loved seeing such iconic British animals in an urban setting in a positive light, interacting with our built landscape. As you will be aware, if you follow Twitter or social media, there have also been a flurry of negative posts. From children catching TB from badgers to the dangers of fox poo on your trampoline, I feel a little sad that so many feel the need to be negative about so many aspects of our natural world. I know there is negativity related to every advert and story, but I like to look at positives as well and there is a lot of good about this advert, its messages and its context, in my eyes.

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Today, I saw the second advert, with a strong wildlife theme … that of Waitrose;A courageous robin undertakes an epic journey home to Britain, where a young girl eagerly awaits his annual return #HomeForChristmas

Waitrose’s campaign focuses on an extraordinary annual winter migration of a Scandinavian robin, as it battles against weather conditions, high seas, polecats, hawks and exhaustion to reach a British garden to find food, warmer climes and a breeding partner. While the robin is created by CGI the rest  of the advert was shot in various locations around the world.

‘Chris Baines, one of the country’s leading naturalists, was consulted in order to make the bird and its journey as accurate as possible – from the height robins fly at and the predators they might face along the way, to how they wake up, what they’d eat and where they’d go.

For Baines, who had never advised on an advert before, the prospect of educating a mass audience about the lengths robins – which have been associated with Christmas, through folklore, for centuries – go to in order to reach our gardens in December was too good to miss.

“Everybody can identify a robin, probably more than any other bird, but very few people would know they’re capable of travelling this huge distance,” he says. “People see them as little Christmas mascots, but they’re a lot more.” (Quoted from Telegraph website )

Again, it depicts the wonderful, and very special, relationship we can have with our British wildlife… I’m just waiting for the negativity now…..

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