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“Bear And The Hare” Is The Most Effective John Lewis Christmas Ad Of All Time

Campaign from 2013 tops our list of UK retailer’s best festive ads; ranking shows ads are becoming less appealing, with most recent campaigns at the bottom of the chart

Bear And The Hare” is the most effective John Lewis Christmas ad of all time.

That’s according to our new research, which ahead of the launch of the retailer’s highly-anticipated festive campaign this month, ranks the best John Lewis Xmas campaigns ever.

Our Christmas Ads Chart was ranked using our proprietary metric EQ Score — a composite score based on the intensity of emotions viewers felt while watching, plus a campaign’s ability to drive brand metrics such as brand favorability and purchase intent. 

The animated 2013 campaign, which features a hare buying her bear friend an alarm clock so he’d wake up from hibernation in time for Christmas, finished top of our Xmas tree, ahead of 2011’s “The Long Wait” and 2012’s “The Journey” in second and third respectively.

In a sign that John Lewis’ Christmas ads have been losing their sparkle in recent years, the chart rankings are almost in chronological order, with the most recent ads appearing at the bottom.

Last year’s Christmas campaign, “The Boy and The Piano”, featuring Rocketman Elton John, finished second-from-bottom, just above 2017 campaign “Moz The Monster”. All the ads in the chart were above the EQ Score UK average of 5.0.


“Bear and the Hare” finished top after almost half (48%) of the viewing audience had an intense emotional reaction to the content. The 2013 ad was also the most heart-warming of all the John Lewis Xmas campaigns – 5 times higher than the UK average. It also scored joint highest for brand favourability, intent to find out more and is three times sadder than the average UK ad.

It wasn’t the ad on the list most likely to make people cry, however, with 2015’s “Man On The Moon” an incredible 10 times sadder than the average UK ad. “Buster The Boxer” was the ad most likely to make people smile.


Rebecca Waring, our Global VP, Insight & Solutions, said: “Our research really shows why the release of the John Lewis Xmas commercial has become as much a part of the festive story as mince pies, presents and your grandad falling asleep during the Queen’s Speech. 

“We all know Christmas is an emotional time of the year, but it’s not just family overtime, cheesy movies and fights over the Christmas Day dinner table that make it such an emotional rollercoaster — festive ads also play their part in making the Christmas holidays a particularly emotional time for a lot of people around the world. And very few advertisers can make us feel as emotional as John Lewis.”

Waring added: “Looking at the EQ Scores, which are generally getting lower and lower each year, there is a worrying trend that John Lewis needs to address. Are people starting to fall out of love with John Lewis’ Xmas ads? Well, it will be interesting to see when they release their latest ad whether this downward trend continues.” 

Click here to find out more about our emotional testing and targetting tool UnrulyEQ.