Top 10 Christmas ad rankings: John Lewis secures top social media spot

Dec 10, 2018 | Content marketing, Online advertising, Social media, UK, Viral and buyrals

John Lewis has come out top in the battle of the UK Christmas ads, generating 135% more engagements for the brand on social media in the five minutes immediately after each ad airing, according to new data.

The department store has risen nine places in 4C Insights annual ‘Top 10 TV ads of Christmas 2018’ to claim the top spot.

Summary of rankings/analysis for 2018:

  • All in all a successful year for grocers, for converting viewership of its TV ads into social conversations, with Tesco (115%), Aldi (106%), Morrison’s (99%), Asda (89%), and Lidl (95%), all in the ‘Top 10’ ranking this year.
  • Lidl wins top spot when ranked by sentiment (79% of social chatter is positive) – with their comical slating of upmarket rivals
  • New entrants to the ‘Top 10’ (from 2017) – Amazon, Morrison’s, Asda and Argos
  • Positive sentiment scores for each of the brands in the ‘Top 10’ rankings this year

‘The Boy and The Piano’ ad starring Elton John has proven to be considerably more engaging for viewers in the UK than last year’s ‘Moz the Monster’ Christmas ad, and created more positive sentiment – 62% in 2018 versus 54% in the 2017 rankings.

2018 Ranking Social lift from TV 2017 Ranking Positive Sentiment for the Brands
1 John Lewis & Partners (135%) 10 62%
2 Tesco (115%) 3 62%
3 Aldi (106%) 1 66%
4 Morrison’s (99%) 75%
5 Lidl (95%) 4 79%
6 Asda (89%) 77%
7 Argos (89%) 62%
8 Boots (84) 2 76%
9 M&S (83%) 9 77%
10 Amazon (73%) 69%

Aaron Goldman, CMO at 4C comments “While it might be easy to attribute the success of this ad to Elton John pulling on consumer heartstrings, John Lewis’ strategy is actually much more sophisticated than that. The two-fold approach had this emotional ad preceding eight product ads across TV and social, creating a surround-sound experience that encouraged people to discuss and share what they saw on TV with their networks on social media.”

Retailers win minds, grocers win hearts

While John Lewis & Partners saw great success in driving engagement, in terms of sentiment score (the number of social media engagements that were positive and not negative), grocers including Lidl (79%), ASDA (77%) and M&S (77%) outpaced other TV advertisers.

Lidl, whose much lauded play on the John Lewis ad involving a competitively priced keyboard, was very much in-keeping with its chosen theme – ‘Upgrade Your Christmas’ – which sees the budget supermarket satirise three typical occasions with a series of ads. In much the same way as M&S’s ‘Must-haves’ ad, grocery businesses have excelled in championing a festive theme across platforms, including highly visual channels such as Instagram.

Goldman continues “In today’s cross-channel world, figures like social lift and sentiment scores represent a more holistic view of advertising’s net effect than just counting views or viewers. For many of us, the first time we see the John Lewis Christmas ad will be on social media. And for those that see it first on TV, many will turn immediately to social media to comment. To effectively reach multi-screening consumers, it’s now critical to take an audience-oriented approach that reaches consumers at the right place and time.”

Amazon enters the race

Amazon, who is not typically associated with the Christmas ad hype jumps into the top 10 with their ‘Singing Boxes’ campaign, receiving 73% more social engagement in the five minutes immediately after each airing of their ad on TV. Singing The Jacksons’ 1981 song ‘Can You Feel It’, the boxes come to life, and capture audiences in a jolly sing-along.

Goldman concludes, “Amazon’s Christmas ads are memorable because they’re highly relatable and broadly relevant, showing how Amazon fits into different aspects of a holiday shopper’s life, whether it’s a gift destination or a way to make the hurried holiday season easier thanks to Alexa-enabled devices.”

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