Unruly / About us / Blog / Very Surprising: Online Retailer Beats John Lewis As Most Emotionally Engaging Christmas Ad

Very Surprising: Online Retailer Beats John Lewis As Most Emotionally Engaging Christmas Ad

UK retailer’s tale of community spirit and seasonal goodwill is most moving of this year’s festive ads; Ads from Sainsbury’s, Barbour, ASDA and Dogs Trust also make top 5

Very’s Get More Out Of Givingis the most emotionally-engaging Christmas ad of 2019.

That’s according to our new research, where we’ve ranked the festive campaigns most likely to move viewers.

The animated ad, which tells the story of a community coming together to give Sidney, a lonely man, a Christmas he’ll never forget, finished top of our Christmas treejust ahead of John Lewis and Waitrose’s first-ever joint campaign, “Excitable Edgar”, in second spot.


In joint third was Sainsbury’s epic tale, “Nick The Sweep”, and Barbour’s animated “Thanks Mrs C”. A tear-jerking campaign from The Dogs Trust and ASDA’s “Make Christmas Special” were joint fifth. 


Other ads to make it into the top 10 include Aldi’s “Leafy Blinders”, Walkers’ “All Mariah Carey Wants For Christmas” and Argos’ nostalgic “Book of Dreams”. Ads from IKEA, Debenhams and Boots did not make the top 10.

Very’sGet More Out of Giving” finished top after 40% of viewers had a strong emotional response to the campaign, twice as intense as the UK norm. The animated ad was also four times more heart-warming, three times more likely to make people happy and twice as sad as the average UK ad.  That put it just ahead of John Lewis and Waitrose’s excitable dragon, Edgar, which left 38% of viewers feeling very emotional. 

Our Global VP, Insight & Solutions, Rebecca Waring appeared on BBC Breakfast to discuss the rankings. “This is why I love content testing! Some may be surprised to see Very at the top ahead of John Lewis & Waitrose, but this shows how valuable it is to test ads against a large sample of people who accurately represent the mood of the UK.”

“Very has tapped into this year’s zeitgeist with great success. The ad is whimsical, old-fashioned and innocent, with an emotive soundtrack—features that are shared by several of 2019’s top Christmas ads, such as John Lewis and ASDA. However, where other brands have gone for spectacular storytelling, Very has chosen to focus on a straightforward social message about community, intergenerational relationships and much-needed seasonal goodwill.”

Thirty-six per cent of viewers of the Very ad came away with a more favourable view of the brand. However, the ad that scored the highest for brand favourabilty was The Dogs Trust’s “Dog For Life”, with 42% of people who watched the ad coming away with a better impression of the brand.