move over panda.

The AAF’s Clever Holiday Marketing Campaign


As someone who works in marketing (and for a nonprofit at that) I was quite intrigued by the AAF’s Christmas fundraising campaign – it’s really clever!

The AAF has produced a spin off of an advertisement created by John Lewis, a UK department store chain. The original ad is a two minute video called “The Bear and the Hare.” The video plays on the idea that bears hibernate throughout the winter and therefore sleep through Christmas every year. The story begins by depicting a bear and a hare hanging out amicably in a summertime forest. Winter comes and the bear retreats to its den. The hare is sad and misses it’s friend; as all of the other woodland creatures are preparing for Christmas, it skips off to the bear’s den and places a gift outside. Cut to Christmas morning and we see that the bear has mysteriously awoken and joined the hare and his other friends – we discover that the hare’s gift was in fact an alarm clock, set to wake the bear on Christmas morning! If you’re curious you can watch the full ad here

It’s a very cute piece of marketing, and cleverly designed to boot. The closing caption says “Give someone a Christmas they’ll lever forget,” Immediately followed by the John Lewis brand. Considering that the AAF is a UK based charity with it’s largest support base residing in the UK, it makes a good deal of sense for them to play off the John Lewis commercial in their own holiday campaign. The opening shot of the video declares:


The video goes on to show moon bears venturing out in their enclosure, searching for pies which are hidden in large wrapped gift boxes. The bears look very cute while opening presents and eating pies, and the closing text at the end of the video reads “Please be a secret Santa and help make a moon bear happy this Christmas. If you are in the UK, just send a free text for 3 Pounds to give a bear a special fruity treat” followed by the texing info. You can click here to watch the full video. 

I think that it’s genius to play on the UK audience’s familiarity with the John Lewis brand and leverage the existing, heartwarming advertising campaign to the benefit of the AAF’s cause. The association between the two videos will only serve to increase the reach of both campaigns and encourage viewers to convert (purchase). It provides John Lewis with some nice PR as well and a good branding opportunity to boot; I wonder if they will consider a sponsorship to the AAF sometime down the road.  


One response

  1. Thanks so much for your kind words, I’m delighted you find this a good idea. So did the Daily Express
    It would be fantastic if John Lewis considered sponsorship – imagine John Lewis Bear could find a home at our sanctuary after Christmas. Thanks again Fiona x

    December 4, 2013 at 10:05 am

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