Christmas Ad Review 2016 – Who took over the Socialsphere?

Christmas Ad Review 2016 – Who took over the Socialsphere?

By myclever™ Agency

Tis’ the season to be jolly, to feel merry and bright and of course discuss the latest and greatest Christmas TV ads.

Would it really be Christmas without some of the biggest brands battling it out to become the hero of the festive period on TV? This year was no exception, and there were some great contenders to take the top spot, from Buster the Boxer to Kevin the Carrot.

Using data gathered from Brandwatch, we were able to pull out some interesting insights around each brand and who has taken over the socialsphere this year.

There were a few things looked into: gender, sentiment of mentions and total mentions. It comes as no surprise to see that women were more receptive to the ads across the board, or at least more vocal on social and were willing to join in the conversations.

Brandwatch, christmas, campaign, data, analysis, listening, report

It’s also no surprise that the Marks and Spencer campaign in particular was preferred by a more female audience – what more do you want than a kick ass Mrs Claus who travels round in a helicopter? Move over Santa, there’s a new Christmas heroine!

Meanwhile, John Lewis and Sainsbury’s were pretty much neck and neck on the gender front, with just over 60% off the audience being female.

Interestingly, when looking at how many mentions each brand received during and post launch, considering the Marks and Spencer’s campaign received a higher percentage of the female audience it was John Lewis who received the most mentions, with their adorable Buster the Boxer campaign. Just behind them were Marks and Spencer’s and Sainsbury’s – it seems pretty obvious that there were three key campaigns in the running for the best TV campaign of 2016… Sorry, Aldi, Morrisons and Waitrose, try again next year!

Brandwatch, christmas, campaign, data, analysis, listening, report

I think it’s safe to say, the John Lewis campaign is always the most anticipated of the year and Christmas doesn’t really start until we see it (along with the Coca Cola truck ad). Taking key learnings from last year’s winner – Sainsbury’s Mog the cat – animals work. People just love a cute animal mascot.

Brandwatch, christmas, campaign, data, analysis, listening, report

Big campaigns by big companies are always going to be up for scrutiny, especially in a world where we can use our social media accounts to express our true feelings. John Lewis weren’t the exception to the rule, receiving backlash from disgruntled parents and adults who expressed the campaign was inadvertently telling children Father Christmas isn’t real and it’s been your parents all along… Take from that as you will.



Regardless of the backlash, criticisms and numerous mentions, it is undeniable that these Christmas campaigns make you feel all warm, fuzzy and excited for the festive period. Each time one of the adverts come on I automatically want a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine… And I don’t even like mince pies or mulled wine!!

Brandwatch, christmas, campaign, data, analysis, listening, report

Brandwatch, christmas, campaign, data, analysis, listening, report

The key element of each campaign is simply the messaging. Nail your messaging and you can’t really go wrong, a la the beautiful stop-motion campaign from Sainsbury’s, The Greatest Gift. Although they didn’t seem to drive a huge spike in mentions on social compared to the landslide John Lewis received, they did drive more ‘happiness’ with the majority of their mentions having a very positive sentiment. Go on Sainsbury’s, making us feel all the feels. Maybe it was James Corden’s voice that drove so much happiness…


It would be totally unfair of me to not mention or include some of the greatest Christmas campaigns done globally and have gone viral on social, for example, EDEKA have produced some outstanding video campaigns which are not only beautifully presented but include beautiful messages, and this year was no exception.

And my personal favourite by Allegro, which has gone what we like to call ‘viral’. I won’t go into too much detail as I’ll ruin the story. But it’s definitely worth the watch (have some tissues at the ready)

What have been your favourite Christmas campaigns? Tweet us @mycleveragency or if you want to know more about the benefits of social listening and analytics, get in touch with @brandwatch

This post was written by myclever™ Agency

Exceptional marketing is driven by human insight. myclever™ Agency craft beautiful, useful and engaging experiences with social media at the heart.