2019 Christmas ads: the social picture

Thought Leadership
How do we determine the ‘best’ Christmas advert of 2019? Would it be based on high video view counts, high conversation volumes or positive sentiment values? Our Senior Analyst James Wright takes a look at how they stack up. 

John Lewis and #ExcitableEdgar is certainly the most talked-about Christmas advert of 2019. With the highest total video views across all platforms (31.6M) and conversation volume (7.5K) across social, it’s a clear winner.

However, Ikea generated slightly higher positive sentiment on YouTube (97.17% vs John Lewis’s 95.32%). Ikea’s advert featuring music artist D-Double E has brought Grime music to the masses. Its popularity this year broke the usual seasonal superficiality, and people have bought into it. 

Similarly, the impact Walkers Crisps had by leveraging Mariah Carey should not be underestimated. Walkers has emerged as a key player in a Christmas race it has never been part of before.

Here’s a rundown of some of the key Christmas players, and how they stacked up on social.

John Lewis 
YouTube views 8,217,639; Conversation volume (earned) 7,518; Positive Sentiment 95.32%

Released on 13/11, this was the latest across all Christmas ads, but as always, the biggest. #ExcitableEdgar was trending on Twitter – but worth noting that it was a promoted trend. People commented that it ‘starts to feel like Christmas’ when the John Lewis ad is broadcast and they developed an affinity to Edgar and his story.

The same connection could not be made to Elton John last year – it appears that a fictional character based on a value-driven Christmas story connects with an audience better. 

YouTube views 5,903,513; Conversation volume (earned) 428; Positive Sentiment 81.51%

Many users jokingly commented that the guy bit into the orange, without peeling it. Overall, while people did seem to like the advert, it was widely felt that it didn’t compare to the 2014 WW1 film.

YouTube views 3,159,301; Conversation volume (earned) 443; Positive Sentiment 78.95%

This was one of the most popular adverts, with people commenting that the tomato was the ‘cutest thing ever’. #KevinTheCarrot was largely discussed across social, with audiences stating how much they loved the character. 

YouTube views 717,745; Conversation volume (earned) 148; Positive Sentiment 94.99%

Positive sentiment for Iceland was in the top five; people enjoyed the #MagicOfFrozen and this worked well for the brand. The cross-promotion with the film release really boosted sentiment. Parents and younger audiences enjoyed the Frozen element, specifically commenting on favourite characters. It’s creatively a huge contrast from the supermarket’s 2018 Christmas advert ‘Rang-tan’, which despite being banned from airing on TV was one of the most watched Christmas ads ever.

YouTube views 665,560; Conversation volume (earned) 360; Positive Sentiment 98.53%

A very interesting one. Some people loved the fact that Mariah Carey featured, and commented on how she ate the crisp ‘in diva fashion’. But Walkers was also criticised as Mariah appeared to not like crisps, at a time of the year where everyone happily indulges.

Conversation volume was surprisingly not as high as predicted, although it has proven very popular amongst those who have commented. 

YouTube views 611,375; Conversation volume (earned) 1,094; Positive Sentiment 97.17%

Ikea was much talked about this year on social. Despite average viewing figures, it generated the second-highest conversation volume. Many users recognised UK grime artist D-Double E as the voiceover, which generated high levels of affinity across user comments. Younger audiences enjoyed the fact it broke away from the Christmas norm, and also liked the humour involved. While the advert was criticised for being ‘un-Christmassy’, the element of surprise helped its mass appeal. 

YouTube views 485,235; Conversation volume (earned) 497; Positive Sentiment 94.24%

Fans loved that the iconic Christmas catalogue featured in the advert, with many people sharing feelings of nostalgia. The touching father/daughter tale was well received, and the idea of circling your dream gift in the Argos catalogue will always sit in the memories of those old enough to remember.

Marks & Spencer 
YouTube views 447,568; Conversation volume (earned) 190; Positive Sentiment 80.87%

M&S feels like an underperformer this year, purely because of the expectations users have come to expect from this brand. YouTube views (447.6K) are respectable, with positive sentiment at 80.87%.

There was a mixed response to using ‘House of Pain’, with some users enjoying the fact it was out of the norm, and some preferring traditional Christmas music. A high volume of users made a direct comparison between M&S and John Lewis, stating that #ExcitableEdgar has topped the competition.

YouTube views 344,244; Conversation volume (earned) 395; Positive Sentiment 90.33%

A low to mid-range performer this year, Asda hasn’t generated the greatest numbers across social, although positive sentiment was high. People did state across social that the felt the advertisement was very ‘magical’ and ‘just Christmas’ with no complications. 

YouTube views 200,806; Conversation volume (earned) 82; Positive Sentiment 51.55%

Boots received the lowest positive sentiment on YouTube by a mile. Comments were disabled on YouTube, however across other platforms, people felt Boots was ‘trying too hard’.

A common theme of discussion was that Boots moved away from a traditional Christmas, users felt a ‘British institution’ such as Boots could do a lot better. 


Source: Crimson Hexagon, Nov 1-19
Source: Native Analytics (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter), Nov 1-19