Which Brand Won Christmas? We Reveal the Winner of Best Christmas Ad

Youth Thinking | 17 Dec 2021


It's Christmas time - and for marketers that means the battle is on for the best Christmas ad. But who puts out Gen Z's favourite Christmas ads? 

In our survey of over 120 16-24-yo, nearly half (47%) said John Lewis produces their favourite Christmas ad. Their top picks from John Lewis' recent Christmas campaigns were:  

Christmas mailer blog banner (1)

There were also honourable shout outs to #CocaCola#Aldi and #Sainsburys who were also popular with our young panellists.

Has John Lewis Lost its Sparkle?

It's no secret that John Lewis has taken us on an emotional journey over the years. They've put out some of the most iconic Christmas adverts and acoustic song covers that reach chart success.

John Lewis' adverts circa 2013-15 were the most popular in our youth poll, but what about their more recent campaigns?  

Our parent company, Savanta, dug a little deeper and using their brand tracking tool BrandVue, they revealed consumer perceptions on the 2021 John Lewis Christmas advert ('Unexpected Guest'). Continue reading to see how this year's ad compared to previous campaigns.  

Savanta's BrandVue analysed the performance of John Lewis' recent ads using three key metics: 

  1. Does it command attention (i.e. awareness)?
  2. Does it influence decisions (i.e. consideration)?
  3. Does it forge associations (i.e. brand image)?

Advertising Awareness

In this first chart (below), Savanta reveals advertising awareness around: the pre-launch, launch and post-launch dates.

Advertising awareness for the 2021 campaign drops ever so slightly on release date compared to last year's ad (Give a Little Love). However, there is an uptick when compared to the 2019 ad (Excitable Edgar).

Despite launching this year's ad two-weeks earlier than usual (and facing competition from M&S and Boots), John Lewis achieved cut-through with their audience. And although we see advertising awareness begin to decrease after two weeks, it doesn’t drop as much as it did in 2019, suggesting that this year was a strong year for awareness.

advertising awareness 2Consideration

This year's ad peaked one week after the release date. The early cut-through possibly helped John Lewis place strongly in the consideration set, but the steady drop-off at two-weeks, indicates the ad is not impacting consideration in the same way that it has in previous years.

consideration 2 Amongst those who are aware of John Lewis’s advertising, the preference towards the brand dips almost as soon as the advert is released, which is at odds with the data seen last year.

The preference dropped at the week one point in 2019, it then saw a strong uplift. Is this an indication of consumers thoughts towards the brand?

preference 2

Brand Image

Finally, brand image in the month of November (when the adverts are released), remains fairly flat this year compared to Nov-20, where there is stronger perceptions of quality, premium, product range and value.

Not only are behaviours around the brand decreasing this year, but overall perceptions of the brand are failing to see strong uplifts too, suggesting that this year’s ad has struggled to convey key brand metrics.

brand image 2While there is a greater uplift in awareness this year, John Lewis seem to be missing the mark when it comes to campaign effectiveness. It’s hard not to ask, have John Lewis lost their way with this year’s Christmas campaign?

Read more on this story here.

Which Retailer is Winning Over Gen Z This Christmas?

And it's not just Savanta that has indicated a shift in perceptions. In our latest Culture Lists, we revealed a new player throwing their hat in the ring - they've been building Christmas ad momentum in recent years and young people are starting to notice.

Find out who it is by subscribing to State of the Youth Nation.

State of the Youth Nation

Our Culture Lists reveal the most popular, current content that Gen Z are engaging with in their day-to-day lives. These lists are revealed in webinars exclusively available to subscribers of State of the Youth Nation (the UK's leading Gen Z insight tracker). 

Subscribers of State of the Youth Nation get instant access to data (we track 700+ questions with Gen Z) and we share our best insights in our reports, workshops and webinars. As a result, our clients save money on additional research and still have the YouthSight team on-hand to help with any Gen Z questions or queries.

Download the brochure


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