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YouTube Reveals Most Popular Christmas Ads

Tim Maytom

youtube christmas chart
YouTube has released viewing figures for Christmas adverts hosted on its platform, revealing which brand has managed to prove the most popular with its seasonal campaign.

John Lewis' 'Buster the Boxer' advert, created by Adam&EveDDB, topped the festive leaderboard globally with over 21m views, but Sainsbury's and AMV BBDO's 'The Greatest Gift' video, while only racking up 13.5m views overall, proved the most popular among UK consumers.

The leaderboards are based on an algorithm that includes paid views, organic views and how much of a video people watched.

John Lewis' ad took second place in the UK chart, while 'Christmas with love from Mrs Claus' by Marks & Spencer, RKCR/Y&R and Mindshare came in third with 7.3m views.

Globally, John Lewis and Sainsbury's traded places, with Sainsbury's coming second, and Burberry's star-studded 'Tale of Thomas Burberry' taking the third spot with 13.8m views around the world.

While supermarkets and departments stores continue to dominate the top 10, both in the UK and globally, this year also saw pure-play digital retailers like Very.co.uk enter the chart.

"It's fantastic to see our Very.co.uk Christmas advert riding high in the YouTube Christmas Ads Leaderboard," said Kenyatte Nelson, group marketing director at Shop Direct. "YouTube plays an important part in every campaign we run, and never more so than at Christmas due in part to the 'Christmas ad battle' where you see people crowing around monitors to watch adverts, or sharing links on email."

Much like the Super Bowl ads have become a part of popular culture in the US, Christmas adverts are increasingly part of the seasonal zeitgeist in the UK, with YouTube seeing a 53 per cent increase in UK views of Christmas adverts year-on-year.

"We see people coming to YouTube again and again to look for their favourite Christmas ads," said David Black, managing director of branding at Google UK. "In fact, they start searching before the ads are launched on TV – we have seen a 40% year on year increase in Google searches for Christmas ads.

"More brands than ever are making Christmas ads that users love. Now, the likes of H&M, Burberry, Coca-Cola and even Heathrow Airport are joining John Lewis and Sainsbury’s and performing brilliantly this year."

An alternative top 10 was put together by a Realeyes and Lucid study, which used eye-tracking and facial recognition technology to measure which adverts were the most emotionally engaging for viewers.

John Lewis topped the chart, scoring an impressive 94.8 per cent on the 'emotionally compelling' scale, just edging out The Body Shop's 'Jungle Bells' campaign, which scored 94.1 per cent.

"The purpose of advertising is to get the tills ringing and evidence is mounting that its people’s emotional responses that determine where they shop," said Mihkel Jäätma, CEO of Realeyes. "This year saw a marked shift from melancholy and sentimentality – exemplified by 2015’s John Lewis’ Man on the Moon – to more uplifting feelings."

Top 10 Christmas Ads in the UK


  1. Sainsbury's – The Greatest Gift

  2. John Lewis – #BusterTheBoxer

  3. M&S – Christmas with love from Mrs Claus

  4. Waitrose – #HomeForChristmas

  5. Burberry – The Tale of Thomas Burberry

  6. Very.co.uk – Get More Out of Giving

  7. Asda – Big Dilemma

  8. Argos – Yetis Christmas Advert

  9. Aldi – Kevin the Carrot

  10. Boosts – The Gift of Beauty


Top 10 Christmas Ads Globally

  1. John Lewis – #BusterTheBoxer

  2. Sainsbury's – The Greatest Gift

  3. Burberry – The Tale of Thomas Burberry

  4. Edeka – #Zeitschenken

  5. Coca-Cola – Neste Natal

  6. Apple - Frankie's Holiday

  7. M&S – Christmas with love from Mrs Claus

  8. H&M – Come Together

  9. Temptations – Keep Them Busy

  10. Heathrow Airport – Coming Home for Christmas


Top 10 Emotionally Compelling Adverts

  1. John Lewis – #BusterTheBoxer

  2. The Body Shop – Jungle Bells

  3. Robert Dyas – Not On My Trampoline!

  4. Temptations – Keep Them Busy

  5. M&S – Christmas with love from Mrs Claus

  6. Febreeze – The 12 Stinks of Christmas

  7. Currys/PC World – Christmas Lights

  8. Waitrose – #HomeForChristmas

  9. Amazon – Imam and Priest

  10. Heathrow Airport – Coming Home for Christmas