Watchdog will not pursue John Lewis ad complaints

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has decided not to investigate complaints about the John Lewis Christmas TV advertising campaign that features a dog outside in a kennel in snowy weather.


The regulator received more than 300 complaints that the ad represented an animal being treated badly and left in unacceptable conditions. Nearly 100 complaints were also made that the ad undermined children’s belief in “the magic of Christmas” as it showed grown-ups wrapping presents.

John Lewis said that it was cutting the scene featuring the dog from its 30 second ad but it was being retained in the 60 second version for the scheduled run of the campaign up to 18 December. It added: “Our intention was to portray a poignant moment where the little boy shows affection for his dog by putting a stocking on his kennel. We are genuinely sorry if this scene has caused any concern.”

Marketing Week’s John Lewis website story attracted a number of comments both attacking and defending the ad.

These include: “Yes dogs can live outside but should have adequate warmth and shelter in winter – the one in the ad doesn’t” and “the kennel that is shown in this advert does not meet these standards, it is way too small for the dog, and is open to the elements. Yes, I know it’s only an advert, but anybody who kept a dog in those conditions in real life would be liable for prosecution.”

One defending comment reads: “I sincerely hope that John Lewis keep showing the full length advert, as they appear to be doing, because to give in people who have a warped view of reality and enough keyboard skills to create a Facebook page means that no marketing material is safe from fringe views.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here