Head of Data Products, UK

Christmas ad season is in full swing, and with all major players having rolled out their festive ads, it’s a good time to look back at how high street stalwart John Lewis’ highly anticipated Christmas ad has done compared to its predecessors.

Using YouGov BrandIndex data, we took the brand’s Ad Awareness scores (whether or not you have seen an advert for the brand) for each of the past five Christmas campaigns. We rebased the scores to zero from the date of each ad’s launch, allowing us to find out which one enjoyed the biggest increase in ad awareness immediately after release.

It shows that the Man on the Moon (2015) has the biggest initial impact, with John Lewis’s Ad Awareness score increasing by +19 points in the five days after it first aired. Buster the Boxer (2016) is in second place (+18),with Moz the Monster (2017) and Monty the Penguin (2014) in joint third (both +14), with The Bear and The Hare seeing the least uptick (+12).

However, over a longer period, this changed slightly. Ten days after launch, Buster the Boxer is in first place (+33). The Bear and the Hare is second (+31), Monty the Penguin third (+30), Man on the Moon in fourth (+28) and Moz the Monster trailing behind on +25.

Given the media hype around each John Lewis Christmas ad, it is not too surprising that the brand’s Word of Mouth score (whether you have talked about the advert with friends and family) always enjoys a noticeable uplift. Five days after launch, Buster the Boxer enjoyed the greatest increase in Word of Mouth (+10), followed by Moz the Monster, Man on the Moon and Monty the Penguin (all tied on +7), with the Bear and the Hare trailing (+6).

However, while every other John Lewis Christmas ad saw a greater increase after ten days than it did after five, this is not the case for Moz the Monster. While it continued to improve slightly after days five, it then fell and ended up o +7 – exactly where it was after day five. 

For many, the John Lewis advert marks the beginning of the Christmas period. Every year some believe the formula is beginning to age and every year the brand’s ad awareness jumps sharply on the advert’s release. However, this year’s advert has not fared as well in the medium term, falling below the heights seen by any of the past five years’ efforts. Yet while it hasn’t maintained quite the same levels of John Lewis festive ads, it is important to remember that our data shows it has increased notably and comfortably out-performs chief rival M&S’s Paddington ad.

While it’s great for the brand to have such a highly anticipated and viewed campaign, getting it to shape consumer behaviour is another matter. The big question is whether it will drive people into John Lewis over the next six weeks. With the retail sector facing a number of challenges, the brand’s marketing department will hope so.

Image: Getty


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