By Eliza Williams

Insurance is a hard product to sell in an interesting way. But a new ad for John Lewis, directed by Dougal Wilson, is a masterclass in how to make a boring subject entertaining. And it also shows off Wilson’s enduring skill in drawing out dazzling performances from child actors…

Created by adam&eveDDB, Tiny Dancer is the latest in a long line of ads for John Lewis directed by Wilson. It features a young would-be ballet dancer, earnestly performing her movements around the family home, with little care for the objects around her. Watch it below:



The spot is executed with a charm and wit that we have come to expect from Wilson, who has also delivered a number of John Lewis’s Christmas ads in recent years, including last year’s Monty the Penguin. As in the Monty ad, the success of this new spot hangs on its lead performance, and Wilson has drawn an exceptional one out of the young actor.

Wilson’s reel is in fact littered with excellent performances from kids, with his work highlighting both the joys and the horrors of childhood, and revealing the lie in the old adage ‘never work with children and animals’. Here are some of our other favourites from him on this theme:


Remember the dreaded school cross-country run? Relieve it in Wilson’s music video for The Temper Trap’s Love Lost.


This ad for Olympus is both an excellent product demo as well as a perfect depiction of the havoc that toddlers can wreak when a parent’s back is turned.


Another demonstration now of how a dull-but-essential product – this time Safestore, a storage company – can be made interesting through a great ad and performance.


Of course no list of this kind would be complete without a couple of Wilson’s Xmas ads for John Lewis. First up The Long Wait, from 2011…


…and then Monty the Penguin from last year.


Read more here:: Dougal Wilson: good with kids