The John Lewis Christmas ad issue rages on. There are over 1000 people on the Stop the John Lewis Christmas Ad Facebook page and nearly 700 on the petition objecting to the advert. I'm still currently waiting for a phone call from the PR dept to tell me what their reaction is.
I have had an email from them which was just a standard one sent out to many people:
The inclusion of a dog at the end of our Christmas advert is there to inject a feeling of the importance of pets in a family and show how much they are an integral part of Christmas festivities.
The kennel has been lovingly decorated with fairy lights and the boy hanging up the special 'doggy' stocking, is sharing a private Christmas moment with his dog. Many dogs have outside kennels, and that does not mean, nor do we intend to imply, that they don't spend most of their time in the house.
Rannoch is a very well cared for dog and his owner, who is also his breeder, is more than happy with the way her pet has been portrayed on screen.
If the idea was to show the "importance" of pets and how "integral" they are why stick the dog in a kennel outside? The kennel may have been lovingly decorated - but it's completely inadequate. There's a surely soggy blanket and there's no door. I don't know anything about Rannoch or his breeder, but presumably she was paid for his time and he hopefully lives in the house or in suitable kenneling so I'm sure she was happy with the whole thing.
The point is that there are hundreds and hundreds of us who aren't happy, and at the moment John Lewis is fobbing us off.
They did later slightly change the tone of the emails they were sending out to one like this one posted on the Facebook page:
I'm sorry that my response to you this morning did not address your concerns. I hope the following information will explain more clearly our position on the issues that you raised.
...As is required, the script and film were cleared for viewing by Clearcast, an independent specialist body responsible for ensuring there is no misrepresentation or suggestion of harm or ill treatment in the content of the advert. Contrary to misconceptions, he is not tied up but sitting freely.
The breed of dog in the advert was chosen specifically for the outdoor scene. It is essential that Deerhounds have access to the outdoors throughout the year, and indeed the breeders' website explains that many hounds live outside all year round.
We are confident that there is no suggestion of harm or ill treatment in the advertisement. We can only apologise if you are not satisfied with the outcome; however the majority of our customers have given it an overwhelmingly positive response and the advert will continue to run until 18th December.
Thank you once more for making contact and sharing your views with us. I am sorry that you feel we have failed you, but please be assured that John Lewis has given careful consideration to the matter.
So there you go - as things stand the ad will continue to run until the 18th December. That's a lot of time for the ad to do its damage and show people that it's fine to put a dog in a kennel. It's a slippery slop - at this time of year dogs bring mud into the house, there are so many comings and goings with visitors that it might just be easier to ship the dog of to a kennel - a traditional one like the one John Lewis show - that's why we are protesting so strongly against this advert. Many people are coming up with excellent suggestions of how to register our discontent, but of course the simplest is to contact John Lewis direct, and to tell the firm you will not be shopping there until this ad is changed or taken down.
Some people have said, "It's not real calm down!" - well Eastenders isn't real but I recently watched a documentary where the producers were pointing out how scenes with a well-loved character dealing with his HIV status moved things on tremendously. Things that are "pretend" have a power to get under our skin and plant ideas.
There are so many breeds that would suffer dreadfully left out at all, but particularly in the snow. Dogs need to be with their people - their pack. Full stop. Nothing will dissuade me of that.
If you agree contact John Lewis, join the Facebook site and sign the petition - united we can have a strong effective voice and speak up for animals. Because John Lewis aren't getting the message yet.