With John Lewis’s festive campaign bouncing its way to the most shared ad of the year last week, there’s no presents on offer for anyone guessing which ad finished on top of the 2016 Christmas tree.
The UK retailer continued its incredible run of Yuletide success this year with “#BusterTheBoxer”, racking up an incredible 1,988,608 shares since it was launched last month, making it also the most shared John Lewis ad of all time. But a look at this year’s top 10 most shared Xmas ads does reveal some Christmas surprises.
The most notable shock is the ad finishing in second. While some would expect another retailer to fill the runners-up spot, it is instead a spot for a London airport which enjoys a second helping.
Heathrow’s “Coming Home for Xmas”, which features two cute teddy bears making their way home to see their family and a rousing soundtrack from pop duo Chas N’ Dave, generated 445,886 shares across social media, putting it just ahead of Marks & Spencer’s “Mrs Claus” in third place (444,428).
The highest ranking international ad on our chart comes from supermarket giant Lidl, whose musical spot ‘Santa Clara’ managed to bag them 304,812 shares. The ad is a great mix of comedy, music, and inspiration – and it’s no wonder it scored so highly.
In fifth place is another ad which features a cute animal making a journey home for the festive period – Waitrose’s “#HomeForChristmas”, while this year’s Xmas ad from German supermarket Edeka “#Zeitschenken”, who scored a huge hit last year with “Heimkommen”, the most shared Christmas ad of all time, is number 6.
Other brands to make it in the top 10 include Amazon, Aldi, Coke and H&M. Sainsbury’s “The Greatest Gift” just missed out on the top 10.
Most shared Christmas ads of 2016 (so far)
- John Lewis: “#BusterTheBoxer” – 1,988,608
- Heathrow: “Coming Home for Xmas” – 445,886
- Marks & Spencers: “Mrs Claus” – 444,428
- Lidl – “Weihnachten ist für alle. Lidl auch. #SantaClara” – 304,812
- Waitrose: “#HomeForChristmas” – 293,437
- Edeka: “#Zeitschenken” – 249,700
- Amazon Prime: “A Priest and Imam meet for a cup of tea” – 241,039
- H&M: “Come Together – A film by Wes Anderson” – 236,845
- Aldi: “Kevin the Carrot” – 176,149
- Coca-Cola Brasil – Neste Natal, agradeça com Coca-Cola – 169,360
Methodology – Unruly data collated on December 6, 2016 and includes shares of official YouTube and Facebook videos. Shares include Facebook responses, comments and likes.
Looking down the chart, 2016’s ads are certainly a lot lighter in tone than previous years. After a year to forget for many, this year’s Xmas ads, inspired by homecomings, cute animals and festive family time, were more than twice as likely to make people feel intense feelings of warmth and happiness than the average ad (source: Unruly Pulse).
This was particularly true of the top ad, John Lewis. Well known as the kings of sadvertising (in the UK at least), this year’s ad was a real change in direction from John Lewis’ previous efforts. People watching the ad may have had tissues on hand in anticipation of yet another John Lewis sad ad, but Buster was much lighter, warmer happier than previous campaigns.
Despite the change in direction, it still packed an emotional punch. According to our research, this year’s Christmas ads are 51% more likely to stir up strong emotions than the average ad. Such raw emotional power drives a lot of discussion and serious word-of-mouth online, which in turn leads to greater awareness and purchase intent at a crucial time for any brand.
But how do brands optimise their ads to ensure they create an emotional connection with consumers? Well, using Unruly EQ™ – our new content testing tool that gives advertisers the data they need to maximise the emotional, social and business impact of their video content – we looked at this year’s top Xmas ad, John Lewis’s “#BusterTheBoxer”, and Sainsbury’s “The Greatest Gift”, which just finished outside of the top 10, in more detail.
Which emotions did people feel while watching? Did the ads resonate with mums? Did the key messages work with consumers? And, most importantly, will the ads drive business at the tills?
*This article was amended at 14.40 on Dec 6th to reflect shares accrued by Lidl. Previously the number 10 spot was held by Temptations Cat Treats.