The UK’s Best Christmas Ads 2017, Ranked By Data

Christmas is officially here, or so the TV would have you think. We’ve traced social media mentions of the major Christmas ads 2017 as they were released to see which were best received.

The Brandwatch React team have kept a close eye on ads being released over the last few weeks, setting up queries for each as they came out and monitoring the associated keywords and hashtags.

Our Christmas ads 2017 data has already been published in Marketing Week (and more) so far, so check out the data the journalists have been fighting for.

While you might have predicted the impact of one certain advert that we’ve mentioned before, the other results may surprise you.

The ads making a splash

John Lewis, almost inevitably, had the highest number of public social media mentions with #MoztheMonster. The retail giant has set the bar high for a number of years and few UK brands are able to generate half the amount of hype around their own adverts.

If you’re going to beat John Lewis on hype, you’ve really got to do something special.

A bar chart shows the top 3 mentioned Christmas ads of 2017. John Lewis is top with 84k, followed by M&S and Tesco

M&S’s Paddington Bear campaign came next along with Tesco’s #EveryonesWelcome.

Social’s favourite Christmas ads 2017:

But big mentions don’t always mean that people are talking positively about your ad.

We used sentiment analysis to take a assess the success of our Christmas ads, removing retweets to find the ads generating the most positive mentions that weren’t retweeting promotions or the ad itself.

While many claim the John Lewis ad isn’t as good as last year’s, it still clinched the top spot.

M&S, with lovable Paddington, came in second and Debenhams with the #YouShall love story comes in at third.

Christmas ads of 2017 getting the most positive mentions are John Lewis, M&S and Debenhams, the chart shows. JL has 7.2k positive mentions (not including retweets)

If you’ve not seen it yet, here’s the winning ad:

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Who’s excited for Christmas?

Put shortly, women. All of the adverts we analyzed got more mentions from female authors than males.

Gender categorized authors discussing 2017's Christmas ads are 64% female, 36% male

Debenhams had the highest percentage of female authors, while Tesco had the highest percentage of male authors.

Supermarket sweep

Finally, we took a look at supermarket adverts in particular.

Lidl and Tesco appeared to be more popular among men than women while all the other ads (particularly Aldi) were favored by women.

Here are the top five supermarket ads that created the most impact on social media.

A chart shows the top mentioned supermarket Christmas ads 2017. M&S is first followed by tesco, aldi, sainsburys and waitrose.

Overall M&S has done very well both in the supermarket sphere and generally but ultimately it couldn’t beat John Lewis – the long reigning king of Christmas ads in the UK.

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25 questions answered using Twitter data

Number five will astound you 😛

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EA Posts the Most Downvoted Comment in Reddit History

The hotly anticipated Starwars: Battlefront II will be released this Friday, but the lead-up to the release has seen controversy in the form of a Reddit backlash at a feature of the game and a subsequent reply from EA that became the most downvoted comment in Reddit history. Ouch.

How it all began

While the game isn’t out yet, players on the pre-release trial period found out that in order to play as their favorite characters like Darth Vader they’d have to put in an extensive amount of play time to unlock them (or pay for the privilege).

The news hit Reddit and this post very quickly gathered momentum.

Seriously? I paid 80$ to have Vader locked?

MBMMaverick, reddit

It was posted at around 8am ET yesterday and caused an increase in mentions of EA on the r/StarwarsBattlefront subreddit, which became particularly active.

Below we show posts on the subreddit by hour, using Brandwatch Quick Search to find mentions of EA within those posts.

People were angry about the revelations – so angry that EA got involved with an ill-fated comment.

The most downvoted comment in Reddit history in full:

Here’s what the EA Community Team responded with.

The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes. As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, we’re looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we’ll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay. We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on Reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets. Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can.


At the time of writing the response has -636k points. It has made history.

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EA has heard loud and clear, but what can be learned?

EA have now reduced the number of credits needed to unlock characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader by 75 per cent.

But what, if anything, can EA learn from this?

Firstly, there’s the issue of micro-transactions. Starwars Battlefront II retails at $79.99 and there’s no doubt that it’s a cool game, but players aren’t happy that they’re spending the cash only to find their favorite characters behind a paywall (or 40 hours of gameplay). Playing as Vader reportedly gives players significant advantages over players who haven’t unlocked them yet, so allowing people to pay for it could be considered unfair.

The topic cloud below shows how the complaints dominated the subreddit yesterday (loot crates and loot boxes refer to in game micro-transactions).

Secondly, vacuous corporate speak does not go down well on Reddit. A brief scroll through responses to EA’s post will give you an idea of how little time Redditors have for vague remarks written by marketers. User GooseTheBoose had the most upvoted response:

I would believe this “Sense of achievement” nonsense if I couldn’t just access it though micro-transactions. Yes let me spend 40 hours unlocking one hero or I could just pay more money…for the content…in the game…I just bought. Seriously you guys are fucks. Enough with microtransactions. When will buying the game be enough to access all the content.

The Reddit audience is perhaps the toughest of all social media platforms, and it’s important to be authentic and show you’re listening. EA might have done better to note the feedback and respond with action more swiftly. A “we hold our hands up” approach early on might have done more to quell the damage – although of course we won’t know how significant that damage is in real terms until the game is released. If Reddit commenters are to be believed, there’s no shortage of people willing to cancel their preorders.

If 2017 has taught us anything, it’s that responding quickly to negative criticism is essential. And in the age of social media, communities aren’t very forgiving when it comes to delays.

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Toxic community

While the Reddit community is known for being harsh, sometimes users can go too far with their criticism.

In the wake of complaints surrounding the Starwars Battlefront II progression system, game developers were targeted with death threats and other general nastiness.

The mods of the subreddit stepped in, lamenting the “hatred and vitriol in the posts and comments” on the subreddit and closing the comments on the initial “Seriously? I paid 80$” post.

Here’s a popular thread from Charles Randall on why game developers can be put off being more transparent because of toxic elements of the gaming community.

Of course, trolling and abuse on social media has been around for a long time, but there are now tools available to track and tackle such content quickly to protect people. While social media is an incredible place for brands to receive and address criticism, no one should face abuse alongside constructive comments and complaints. The trolls might often be in the minority, but they can ruin online spaces for everyone.

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The Most Influential Men and Women on Twitter 2017

Heroes don’t always wear capes just like influencers aren’t always heads of state (although sometimes they are).

This time last year the Brandwatch React team named the most influential men and women on Twitter.

And now, as 2017 begins to slow down, we’re going to do it all over again!


Brandwatch uses a vast database of names to understand the gender of the person behind an account. Where the algorithm isn’t sure it doesn’t assign a gender.

For this research we used Brandwatch Audiences to search for people that Brandwatch identifies as male and female and then ranked them using influencer metrics.

The accounts were ranked according to a selection of criteria that added together to create their influence score. This is a measure of how influential an account is over time, based on the level of genuine engagement they are creating. While lots of followers, retweets and replies will help, the more influential the people they engage with, the better the score.

So, this research incorporates accounts’ gender categorization and influencer score to rank the most influential men and the most influential women on Twitter.

The follower counts listed below were correct and rounded to nearest million at the time of writing.

The most influential men and women on Twitter

Let’s get straight to the point.

Here are the top five most influential men and women on Twitter according to Brandwatch Audiences.

A visualization of the top five most influential men and women on Twitter. In the men's list there's Justin Bieber, Donald Trump, Justin Timberlake, Christiano Ronaldo and Jimmy Fallon. In the women's there's Katy Perry, Shakira, JLo, Ellen Degeneres and Demi Lovato

Yes, that is Justin Bieber appearing above the President of the United States.

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A closer look, and the long lists

The men

You might not be surprised to find out that Bieber is more influential than Trump on Twitter (he does have double the number of followers, and he was also our most influential man last year).

However, you might be surprised to see 1D star Niall Horan – according to this, his solo career appears to be going swimmingly. His former bandmate Harry Styles comes in at 11th just after the Prime Minister of India.

Name Twitter handle Influencer score Follower count This year placement Last year placement
Justin Bieber @justinbieber 96 103M 1 1
Donald J Trump @realdonaldtrump 96 42M 2 6
Justin Timberlake @jtimberlake 95 63M 3 3
Cristiano Ronaldo @cristiano 95 63M 4 7
Jimmy Fallon @jimmyfallon 95 50M 5 8
Bill Gates @billgates 95 41M 6 9
Ricky Gervais @rickygervais 95 13M 7 Wasn’t in top 10
Barack Obama @barackobama 94 97M 8 2
Niall Horan @niallofficial 94 36M 9 Wasn’t in top 10
Narendra Modi @narendramodi 94 37M 10 Wasn’t in top 10

Notable names from last year’s list who didn’t quite make the top 10 this time include Kevin Hart, Zayn Malik and Kanye West.

The women

While the men’s top 10 saw some new faces, the women’s list was more of a re-shuffle. Katy Perry climbed to the top, joining Shakira, Demi Lovato, Ellen Degeneres, Haruka Nakagawa, Britney Spears and Alicia Keys in moving up or maintaining their spots compared to last year. Meanwhile JLo, Selena Gomez and Oprah Winfrey slid down places in the influencer chart. Adele made it in last year but not this year – she’s now rolling in the deep depths of being number 11.

Of course, regardless of who moved up or down, each of these women are hugely influential in their own right.

Name Twitter handle Influencer score Follower count This year placement Last year placement
Katy Perry @katyperry 96 106M 1 2
Shakira @shakira 96 49M 2 4
Jennifer Lopez @jlo 96 44M 3 1
Ellen Degeneres @theellenshow 95 75M 4 8
Demi Lovato @ddlovato 95 51M 5 6
Selena Gomez @selenagomez 95 55M 6 3
Haruka Nakagawa @haruka_nkgw10 95 1M 7 7
Britney Spears @britneyspears 94 56M 8 9
Oprah Winfrey @oprah 94 40M 9 5
Alicia Keys @aliciakeys 94 29M 10 Wasn’t in top 10


A notable account in the top 10 is @haruka_nkgw10 who maintained her position on last year. While she has significantly less followers than the other women on the list, her ability to generate engagement with the wider community has earned her a spot.

What should we make from this year’s list?

Some will look at these lists and scowl. Internet influence isn’t important, they’ll say. What a load of trivial *&$%(@, they’ll say.

Meanwhile some will look at the list and see hope – the young artists of the future rising above established power, speaking their truths and being heard.

Some, like me, will take this list with a large pinch of salt and note the subtle changes year-on-year as interesting signposts to how the Twitter conversation has changed. They’ll see the overwhelming influence of celebrity above political leaders as something that comes with social media but also highlights the power of these pop culture voices in the circles young people exist in. And they might note that while left-leaning celebrity voices like Katy Perry’s may not have swung the election towards Hillary Clinton in 2016, their influence among young people may be a factor to watch as Twitter’s younger base grows up.

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John Lewis 2017: Trying to Understand #MoztheMonster on a Hangover is Harder Than You’d Think

NEWSFLASH! Christmas isn’t – despite what you may think – only about hastily-bought presents wrapped in tin foil, and questionable, claggy Pret sandwiches with sprouts in.

Christmas is, in fact, the holiday where we celebrate the big J. Not Jesus, John Lewis.

You know the drill.

Every November, just after the halloween decorations are boxed up and put back in the loft, the whole of the UK goes completely batshit over a series of TV advertising campaigns by massive brands, costing tens of millions of dollars.

“The festive season accounts for such a significant proportion of sales that there can be no holding back on ad spend,” says Leo Rayman, chief executive of Grey London, the ad agency behind Marks & Spencer’s Paddington-led campaign. “A bad Christmas can make or break a company’s year.”

Sounds depressing, right? Wrong! The whole christmas adverts thing is actually very wholesome and pure and I’ll fight anyone who isn’t into them. And you don’t want to fight me. I have been known to bite.


The most anticipated of all of the campaigns is always the John Lewis one.

And as is tradition, I’m wheeled out once again from behind the React sweet tin to give you all the data and try and figure out what you good people of the interwebs think of it. The problem here is that we expected it to drop yesterday, and spent all day geeing ourselves up. We got so over-excited that we went to the pub and drank a load of wine, so this blog could get interesting.

Moz the Monster

SO! Let us begin.

If you’ve somehow missed the cultural phenomena that is the advert, this time directed by Michel Gondry (!!) to the tune of a not insignificant £7m, here it is. It’s called Moz the Monster:

Wow! No animals this year! Fact time: the 2016 campaign saw a return to using animals as the stars. In 2015 John Lewis ditched the CGI fur for real humans for ‘Man on the Moon’, and we saw more people discuss the animals in 2016 than the 2015 ad.

Everyone bloody loved Buster the Boxer. Our CMO, Will McInnes, summed up why the campaign gave us the feels.

“As marketers, we know that a great ad is all about eliciting emotions.  It’s classic big brand storytelling, meets distribution in the social age. Essentially people won’t share boring content and John Lewis knows it. In a world where our attention is pulled in so many different directions, it’s a reminder that a good story still matters.”

So what about this year? WELL.

This year we get a CGI imaginary monster who lives under a child’s bed and seemingly torments him, bringing on severe long-term insomnia, driving the child to the point of near exhaustion, before they in fact become great friends – but then gets brutally murdered by the child’s well-meaning, but ultimately evil, parents.

That’s how I read it, anyway. But I’m feeling particularly cynical today.

What did the public think?

Unwrapping the data

Our React data elves have been trawling through tens of thousands of social posts to find out how the ad has gone down with the general public.

We tracked 18,260 mentions of the Moz the Monster advert between 7am and 10am today.

Of those, 76% were positive.

More women had something to say about Moz (every time I type that I am brutally reminded of SEO) than men.

How does this compare with previous adverts?

Last year’s Buster the Boxer advert went live at 8am, and by 9.50am there were over 30,000 mentions of Buster, with 25,603 of the hashtag #BusterTheBoxer. Slightly less men have been tweeting about the ad than last year.

What’s the vibe?

I’m happy to go on record and say this year’s isn’t my bag. To be honest, today’s not my bag. So it could be that. But I have to say I agree with those who have voiced their ‘disappointment’ and ‘lack of tears’.

Everyone knows that the John Lewis advert is basically TV’s ‘Love Actually’ – soppy, tear-jerking, and designed to manipulate you into buying stuff (John Lewis: toys. Love Actually: turtlenecks). Thing is, this year’s one is essentially trying to get you interested in buying a glorified nightlight. It’s a no from me.

I just DON’T GET IT. Why does the Monster get sent away at the end? I thought they were mates! Why is there a badly wrapped gift in their house anyway? Why are the parents not concerned about the prospect of a stranger sneaking into their house and gifting their son with a LIGHT? Imagine getting a light for Christmas when you were 7. Awful.

The rest of the team were as perplexed as I.

Are we missing something? Is my empathy chip disslodged?

Adweek commented:

Nightlights do make monsters go away, but making a friend disappear—even if it means getting more sleep—isn’t much of an uplifting moment (even if the spot plays up Moz’s good intentions to the hilt, then hints at the end that he hasn’t really gone away at all).

Let’s see what you all think.

We’ve seen a lot of complaints of the ad being ‘underwhelming’ and not understanding what was actually happening in the ‘plot’.

We’ll be tracking the reactions of people taking to their Twitter accounts as the festive season continues to swing.

What did you think of the advert? What’s the worst Christmas present you’ve ever got? Let us now in the comments, or over at @Brandwatch on Twitter.

Are you a journalist looking to cover our data? We have plenty more. Email us for more information

25 questions answered using Twitter data

Number five will astound you 😛

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iPhone X Data: We Analyzed Two Million Tweets To Review The Phone’s Reception

Now that the iPhone X data has been building for a few days, the React team decided to take a look at how the launch went down on social media.

The latest iPhone was released on Friday 3 November, retailing at around $1,000 (depending on the model you’re after). It was first revealed by Apple at the company’s September keynote when it got significantly more attention (and rightly so) than the iPhone 8 and other announcements – it’s such a big deal that the company even skipped the number nine.

The pricey smartphone has impressed reviewers, but what about regular users – you know, the totally normal ones queueing outside Apple Stores in the cold to shell out a lot of money for Apple’s latest shiny thing?

We thought we’d take to Twitter to investigate.

Iphone X data: One huge reaction

  • We found 2,254,270 tweets about the iPhone X between 31 October and 6 November
  • 42% of gender-categorized authors tweeting in that time were female, 58% male
  • Among the top mentioned tweeters in the iPhone X conversation were @GraysonDolan

A data visualization shows that 42% of gender-categorized people tweeting about the iPhone X were women, 58% men.

The lines

Ever since the iPhone X was revealed (the most hyped point of the last Apple Event), expectations for the 10th anniversary iPhone have been high.

Queues of enthusiasts are nothing new for Apple, and this iPhone launch saw plenty of people waiting in line.

There were over 4.5k mentions of “in line” between 2-3 November, although many of them were retweets and people berating those who chose to sit outside for hours.

We expected to find more people talking about waiting in line, but then we realized why the number might be low.

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A breakdown of the features being discussed

Of course, other than the air of superiority one might get from wielding an Apple product, features are important to consumers.

We took a look at some of the most hyped features of the iPhone X that set it apart from its predecessors.

It was potentially the most trivial of all the features that saw the most Twitter discussion.

A bar chart shows mentions of animojis, face ID and the camera within iPhone X mentions on Twitter. The numbers show that animojis have 68250 mentions, Face ID has 24416 mentions and the camera has 28390 mentions.

Below, some of the most popular tweets in the iPhone x conversation demonstrate the opportunities and sometimes downfalls of each feature brings.



Animojis allow the iPhone X holder to project their own emotions onto animal emojis and record short videos or take snapshots.

This tweet, which gives an insight into the creative potential for animojis, went huge. If you haven’t already seen it you really need to watch it.

For some, they’re a real game changer.

Face ID

While many have tried to trick Apple’s Face ID (that allows users to unlock their phone and perform other affirming actions with their face), few have been as successful as identical twins.

While there was a one in 50,000 chance a random user could unlock your phone with Touch ID which uses fingerprints, Face ID has one in a million chance of a random person being able to use it.

As long as you don’t have an evil twin you should be OK.

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The iPhone X’s camera and accompanying effects are being celebrated on Twitter.

To be fair this does look pretty cool – his hand is invisible!

But not everyone is a fan of taking super-high-definition pics.

We’re sure you’ll find a suitable filter, Trevor.

Handle with care

If you have just spent $1000 dollars on an iPhone, let us assure you that dropping it is not a good idea. But you wouldn’t be alone in your clumsiness.

We found a few people saying they’d already dropped their phones in the first couple of days of owning them.

Twitter even dedicated a Moment to dropping iPhone Xs.

Be careful out there, people!

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Searching For The Meaning Of Life Using Social Media Data

It’s early on Monday morning and I’m currently having an existential crisis.

I look at the screen, around the office, into my black coffee that’s reminiscent of the black void and wonder, what does it all mean?

What is the meaning of life? What is the purpose of existence? These are the questions we have been asking ourselves for as long as we have been sentient, and questions I found myself asking in the dull glow of 7.30am streetlights on my walk to work.

Great men such as Plato and Nietzsche pondered these questions and found no conclusions so how can I? Well fortunately I exist at a point in time with more than any other point in history (approximately 1.2 zettabytes, that’s 1.3 trillion gigabytes – insane, right? And that’s what the estimate was in 2010!). Also, fortunately, I work for Brandwatch, the premier social listening tool which means I’m in prime position to unpick this myriad mystery and cement my name amongst the great philosophers.

(Ok, maybe not, but it can’t hurt to see what people say about ‘the ultimate question’).

Using a Brandwatch query to ask those big questions like “what is the meaning of life?”, “what is the purpose of humans?” and “why do we exist?”, we gathered thousands of mentions over a year long period, from September 2016 to September 2017. Mentions were tracked on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Reddit.

Prominent theories on the meaning of life

Let’s start by looking at the most popular topics that emerge from authors discussing the meaning of life:

A topic cloud shows words that come up in the meaning of life conversation. A few quotes in particular stand out and are discussed below

Meaning of life is to find…?

Purpose of life is to give…?

What do I need to find? What do I need to give? Arggghh! More questions.

Thankfully these questions can be more easily answered, and upon clicking into the topics we discover that these are linked to form the #inspirationalquote:


While this may give you the inspiration to finally do something with that canvas you’ve had sitting in your shed ever since Bob Ross was introduced to Netflix, it wasn’t in fact Pablo Picasso that said this. #FakeNews.

This quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, while it looks good on an Instagram snap of you in a kayak, in a jungle, near a waterfall, with the hashtag #wanderlust, isn’t the most definitive answer to my search.

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. – Eleanor Roosevelt #karmasuptra #friday #fridayfeeling #reach #stretch #carpediem #sweet #life #purpose #live #love #taste #new #rich #experience #fearless #gratitude #inspire #selfcare #move #breathe #play #yoga #yogagirl #yogaeverydamnday #sup #supyoga #standuppaddle #paddleboarding #paddleboardyoga

A post shared by Julie Thayer (@karma_sup) on

A rather more existential solution to the problem is this one, that empowers the user to give life their own meaning. So if binge watching TV in your pants whilst eating hotdogs at three in the morning is your kinda thing, maybe that’s all there is to life (this is what I tell myself at least).

Alternatively, if helping others, making music or getting rich is what matters to you, then that may well be your purpose.

How about getting more granular? Using custom rules in Brandwatch Analytics, we can segment our data into categories based on popular beliefs around the meaning of life. Terms relating to finding love and happiness make up our happiness category, while terms about becoming rich make up our wealth category and so on.

A bar chart shows prominent themes surrounding the meaning of life. Happiness is the most common theme

Encouragingly, people tended to veer more toward being happy and finding love as the purpose of life rather than getting rich, with authors being 900% more likely to strive for happiness over wealth. I’m not sure I could’ve handled the loss of faith in humanity right now.

Giving life its own meaning emerged as popular, seeing the second highest volume of mentions, while those inclined to a more nihilistic viewpoint also saw good representation. This has prompted me to send a ‘u ok hun’ to all the authors within that category.

As our primitive roots are eradicated further and further, and we have effectively conquered the food chain, survival and reproduction is no longer seen as life’s essential purpose. It appears to have been replaced with a desire to have meaning rather than simply exist and thus survival as the meaning of life was the least represented answer.

Despite all this I have found myself more inclined to agree with this rather inspirational/depressing quote:

Life does not have inherent meaning; to say that our lives are pointless and our achievements meaningless is to state the obvious. No matter how grand our achievements or how broad their scope, time turns all to dust and death destroys all memory. But that does not mean we cannot ascribe our own meaning to what we do. It is because nothing has meaning unto itself that we are free to create meaning, to make metaphor, and in doing so reflect on ourselves and our world.

Who said this? Camus? Sarte? No, this was in fact internet legend CirclMastr, famous for being the man who spent 500 hours playing one level of Final Fantasy VII to spite someone on the internet called Dick Tree.

A worthy cause we can all get behind.

The meaning of life, contemplated by all

What can we learn about the people searching for answers? Well using Brandwatch Analytics, we’re also able to breakdown authors by gender to reveal differences between men and women’s quest for meaning.

Twitter data chart shows that men and women talk about the meaning of life just as much as each other (50/50)

Male and female authors had a near even share of mentions regarding the topic, suggesting we’re all as worried as each other.

While men’s searches tended to be more external as they looked for answers from celebrities and television shows, with topics including Stephen Fry and ‘Rick and Morty’. Female conversation was more introverted as ‘contemplated the meaning of life’ emerged as prominent within feminine discussion.

The rather morbid subject of death appeared as a key topic within male conversation, as authors discussed the meaning of life in the context of dying. A fear of being unfulfilled emerged within this subject as male authors emphasized the importance of making sure you’ve achieved everything you wanted before your final moments. This also highlights a secular vein that emerged from male conversation.

Is it that time again?

We’re also able to visualize when the discussion took place to better understand how time influenced people’s thoughts.

Bar chart shows that Sunday and Monday are the most common days to discuss the meaning of life on social media

The chart shows that Monday and Sunday were the most common days to discuss the meaning of life and we also found that early evening was the most popular timeframe for conversation. This could be people questioning their life’s purpose as tomorrows work day bears down upon them after a rather heavy weekend.

We can see there is a rather random spike in conversation at 4am (may or may not be sleep deprivation!) and I myself appear to be an outlier, with early mornings seeing the least conversation..

So to summarise, happiness is the meaning of life, I’m a bit of a nihilist, men seem more afraid of death than women and 7pm on a Sunday is the perfect time to have an existential crisis. Not everyone will be so happy with my digital quest though. Allow me to leave you with this quote from esteemed philosopher, Trey Songz;

Got questions?

Here are 25 answered with Twitter data

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Clowns Have Had a Tough Year, But is IT Movie to Blame?

Clowns are having a tough time right now.

Most of us are still scarred over those job loss due to scary depictions of their profession, most prominently in the recent IT movie.

In fact, the clowns’ complaints have spread so far that even Stephen King has taken to Twitter in defense of the film’s scary story.

Pop culture is seriously harshing the professional clown’s vibe.

But is it just the movie to blame for clown redundancies? Or is there something deeper driving clowns out of their tiny cars and into temp agencies? Filled with Halloween spirit, the Brandwatch React team jumped into Brandwatch to find out.

A GIF shows a short clip from the movie The Shining, showing paper running through a type writer with "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" over and over.

Everything’s Eventual

Hatred of clowns isn’t a new thing. Some of us remember when the first IT movie came out, terrifying viewers – were clowns complaining about losing jobs then? Maybe so, but we didn’t have social listening then, so let’s put that aside. Instead, we’ll look at what people are saying now.

While mentions of ‘clown’ and ‘hate’ often relate back to the IT movie, there are some other trends worth noting as possible causes for clown job loss.

First stop, the topics cloud in Unlimited Historical Data, and there was one big topic that caught my attention – “Donald Trump”.

A topic cloud shows prominent topics within tweets about "clowns" from January to October this year.

When we look at the top-mentioned tweeters in relation to “clowns” – number one is @realdonaldtrump. He’s a clown, people who voted for him are clowns, people who didn’t vote for him are clowns. We’re all clowns and nobody means it in a nice way.

And that’s not to say he isn’t willing to dish out the clown-related insults also.

Using Brandwatch Quick Search, I did a simple search for mentions of Trump within my “is a clown” data, and found plenty of evidence of the term being used in a derogatory manner.

(The below mentions aren’t all naming Trump as a clown, we’re just searching for tweets where something/someone is called a clown that also mention Trump).


A GIF shows Brandwatch Quick search in action, showing lots of spikes in Trump mentions within the "is a clown" data

Could it be that our fear of clowns has become so tied to the President of the United States that we no longer want those clowns at our party because we now associate them with the current political landscape? The latest edition of the New Yorker isn’t doing clowns any favors.

In fact, words associated with President Trump (Trump, @realdonaldtrump, @potus etc) are mentioned alongside “clowns” more this year than “Pennywise” or @ITMovie.

A pie chart shows that 10% of tweets about clowns are related to the President, while only 2% are related to IT Movie

For all the clown-related content surrounding Trump, Stephen King actually banned him from seeing the IT movie.


A picture from Air Bud showing a clown and a dog

But we can’t blame politics alone for the public going off clowns. I took a deeper dive and searched for mentions of, “I hate clowns because” and found some other reasons that the professional clown industry might want to take into consideration.

If you ask a clown, they’ll tell you their mission is to care, not to scare. But according to what I’ve found in Brandwatch, those efforts to bring joy are actually bringing on fear.

Disguises, serial-killer clowns, balloons popping in faces, Air Bud. These efforts to entertain are backfiring and the pain of those memories linger. It only takes one bad experience to put someone off clowns for life.


Can clowns see through The Mist?

So what’s a clown to do in these troubling times? Maybe some image rehabilitation is in order for the clown associations of the world. The World Clown Association’s stance on scary clowns, according to this statement, is clear – scary clowns are not real clowns. But will this be enough to reverse the public sentiment?

I decided to take a closer look at tweets that mentioned “love clowns” and “hate clowns” to see if anyone out there can lend a bit of hope for the clown industry. It’s not looking great. People just don’t like clowns.

Two pie charts show how men and women talk about loving and hating clowns. Women are 90% hate, 10% love, men are 85% hate, 15% love


Interestingly, though, when we dive into mentions of love and clowns, what we find is the ultimate contradiction.

Some people love clowns BECAUSE of the film IT.

It may be that it’s time for the clown industry to embrace the fear, rather than fight it. Put on those big shoes and that red nose. Grab your chainsaw and get out there, clowns. Scare us. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all. Embrace your new reputation and the work will come. Just stay out of the woods.

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Stranger Things Data: 545k Tweets Review The Latest Season

Stranger Things 2 hit our screens on Friday, plunging thousands into a spooky weekend of binge-watching the show.

As is tradition with shows that we love, the Brandwatch React team collected social media data on the show over the weekend.

Specifically, we searched for tweeted mentions of the show, looking within that conversation for mentions of characters and episodes and more.

Spoiler note: We won’t go into detail on any of the show’s events so if you’ve not reached the end yet you’re safe to read this post! We will point out specific characters and episodes that get big mentions, but won’t go further.

The build-up

We tracked mentions of the five main characters between August 1st and October 15th to see which character tweeters were most excited to see. It turns out Will Byers is the biggest hype generator, with Eleven coming in second.

A pie chart shows Stranger Things 2 character mentions in the lead up to the new season

(We removed mentions like “we will”, “will be” etc.)

Netflix has been plugging Will’s role in the latest season a lot on Twitter. And if you’ve seen any of the episodes, you’ll know why.

Stranger Things data: Opening weekend stats

  • We found 586,980 tweets about Stranger Things season 2 over the weekend (Friday to Sunday)
  • The words binge or binging (etc) were used 27,560 times within the above-mentioned tweets
  • 59% of gender categorized authors tweeting about Stranger Things were female – perhaps unexpected given that the genre of the show might traditionally attract a male-heavy audience

This chart shows Stranger Things 2 mentions broken down by gender this weekend. 59% female, 41% male

Let the binge begin!

Predictably, people have jumped straight into the new season and attempted to binge all of the episodes over the course of the weekend.

We mapped out mentions of the show by the hour over the weekend, seeing a spike of around 20,000 tweets in an hour at between 2-3am ET on Friday morning as people began to watch.

Using Brandwatch Quick Search, we searched within those mentions to see how many of those mentioned the words “binge” or “binging” etc. The results are below.

A gif shows Stranger Things 2 mentions by hour, first overall and then just "binge" mentions


Our data shows that plenty of people have made it to the final episode already.

While the majority of episode-related hype is for the first episode, you’ll see that episodes seven and eight made up the second largest chunks.

The smallest portion of episode-related tweets went to episode nine – that either means it’s a fairly tame ending or most people haven’t made it that far yet.

For the sake of my own entertainment, having only made it to episode six, I hope it’s the latter.

A pie chart shows Stranger Things 2 episode mentions during the opening weekend

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Characters we love

Everyone loves the Stranger Things kids, and each of the main characters scored an impressive number of tweets during the opening weekend.

A bar chart shows Stranger Things 2 main character mentions during the opening weekend

Eleven’s popularity might be surprising, though not if you look at how many retweets this has had.

While Lucas is the least mentioned of the main characters, he had the highest percentage of positive tweets in which he was mentioned, suggesting that while the other characters get the most mentions he is the true favorite.

Happy Halloween, Stranger Things data fans!

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AR Data: Which Brands Are Storming Ahead When it Comes to AR?

As a futuristic buzzword, augmented reality is surrounded by wonder and big money. Who’s winning the race to mass uptake? We gathered AR data to find out.

What is AR?

Augmented reality, often confused with virtual reality and sometimes called mixed reality, is “a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are “augmented” by computer-generated or extracted real-world sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.”

AR has been around for a long time – you could argue that watching a weather presenter pointing out the sunny spots on what is essentially a green or blue canvas behind them is one example. Meanwhile, anyone who has played Pokémon Go or used Snapchat to alter their facial features has had an experience of what augmented reality can do, albeit a simple one.

But the technology is also dreamed of in far more futuristic circumstances, like superhero-like smart glasses or teaching science by having dinosaurs run around the classroom. We thought we’d take a look at AR data from Twitter to see which brands’ visions of the future of AR are getting people excited.

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AR data: A Magic Leap into the future

We took a look at mentions of augmented reality on Twitter so far this year.

#AR is often featured alongside other futuristic trendy new tech-related hashtags like #Drones, #Fintech, #Blockchain, #BigData and #ArtificialIntelligence, with lots of people sharing their thoughts on future trends in bulk.

Examining trending brand names throughout the year, we found AR developers Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Snapchat, Magic Leap and Apple cropping up again and again. Apple appears to be the top-mentioned company that develops AR.

A bar chart shows the top-mentioned AR developing brands within the AR Twitter conversation. Apple is the top-mentioned, followed by Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Snapchat and Magic Leap

Apple’s ARKit that helps develop AR experiences for iPhone and iPad is a huge part of this conversation. People are really excited about the kinds of things you can make – check out, it’s got some great examples.

For all the money it’s been awarded, Magic Leap didn’t get as many mentions in the AR conversation as we’d have imagined.

We also noticed that IKEA popped up as a trending brand.

Their IKEA Place app uses augmented reality to help you see how furniture will look in your home. It really shows off the possibilities AR provides for brands, bringing products to life from the comfort of the consumer’s own couch.

Novelty fizzles

Right now, there seems to be a real excitement around AR among consumers and the popularity of IKEA’s Place app is a good example of how new technology can be used to engage people with your latest promotion.

The challenge for brands investing in AR will be to keep the momentum going.

“As with any emerging technology, the experiences need to be compelling enough once the novelty has worn off,” says Graham Thomas from the BBC’s R&D department.

Pokémon Go, predictably, isn’t as popular as it was when it was first released (although you can’t blame that solely on a lack of development in the game’s use of augmented reality). Meanwhile, the format for watching weather presenters in front of green screens is fairly uniform and still appreciated while the novelty has worn off. If brands are going to jump into AR, they should focus on creating a meaningful, useful experience – not just a shiny app that’ll be deleted after the first couple of uses.

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Creeping people out

Meanwhile, AR creates an excellent opportunity to go too far.

Fans of Black Mirror will recall episode two, ‘Playtest’, in the latest season. We found it to be the scariest of all the episodes, according to the reactions people reported on Twitter.

The episode follows the story of a guy who goes to help test a new video game experience in which he walks around a house experiencing visual horrors as the game learns his deepest fears.

At the beginning, he plays a whack-a-mole test game – one that has now been recreated.

Of course, implanting hallucinations that match someone’s deepest fears is probably a while off yet and probably wouldn’t get through some regulation somewhere…right?

But as experiences become more and more immersive, creeping people out is not advisable. Whether that’s with real horror content that the user didn’t sign up for or over-personalization.

Mass uptake?

Smartphone-based apps that incorporate AR seem to be the most obvious way that people will get involved with AR as it develops.

The popularity of Snapchat and Facebook Messenger for enhancing social interactions by altering facial features or games like Pokémon Go that bring mythical creatures in the real world are excellent examples of how AR has come to be accepted and enjoyed by millions.

But breathtaking AR in the form of smart glasses or other longer-lasting bodily fixtures could be a while off. As Apple CEO Tim Cook admits, “the technology itself doesn’t exist.” Yet.

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Will the World Wear Smart Glasses?

Smart glasses, we are told, are the future.

They’re going to help us remember stuff. They’re going to translate things before our eyes. They’re going to read temperatures, direct us and tell us the news. We’re going to see virtual objects in the real world, and they’re going to help us.

According to the Chief Scientist of Oculus Research, they could replace our smartphones by 2022.

But smart glasses have a troubled past – the failings of Google Glass have been well documented, and there are no shortage of concerns surrounding how the glasses of the future might look and act. Our vision, after all, is precious, and mass adoption of smart glasses ought to be treated with due hesitation.

Will the world wear smart glasses?

At Brandwatch React we like to keep an eye on the latest trends and how people are reacting to them, so we were keen to take a look at smart glasses and what’s being said about them.

We gathered thousands of tweeted mentions of “smart glasses” or #smartglasses between January 1st and October 18th 2017 to identify the main themes of conversation. What are people excited about or concerned about? Which brands are leading the way in terms of public perception of smart glasses? We found out.

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The major themes

Using Brandwatch Analytics, we used the topic cloud component to identify recurring themes within the conversation that might warrant further investigation. We noticed that accessibility, changes to our current physical technology and brands were creating major waves in the smart glasses conversation.

What your desk could look like

Is it nearly time to throw out your monitor? It seems so.

A significant part of the conversation was about how smart glasses could “replace” things. Your computer, your phone, maybe even your desk (who needs one when everything’s virtual?)

Check out this video that could represent the future of work.

Of course, it’s all still a little pixelated and basic, but there’s no shortage of money being thrown at smart glasses.

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The big players (and the small)

With plenty of organizations working on smart glasses, there’s huge competition to get the first pair of smartglasses to go mainstream.

Facebook is Lenovo are also making waves, featuring in our topic cloud above.

Amazon have made the biggest impact this year, though, as reports circulated that the company is working on Alexa powered smart glasses.

A line chart maps tweeted mentions of smart glasses between 1 January and 18 October 2017. The biggest spike occurs in September when it is reported that Amazon is working on Alexa powered smart glasses.

It’s worth noting the prominence of smaller players, too. Lesser known Vuzix were also among the top mentioned Twitter accounts.

The race to dominate the smart glasses market it is well and truly on.

The bright side

Smart glasses can be used for all sorts of different things – for construction, education, navigation etc. Something that jumps out massively in the smart glasses conversation is their ability to help the legally blind.

Not only can smart glasses help improve sight, they can also help blind people navigate the world.

For example, cameras mounted on smart glasses can be accessed by a supporter to see what a blind person is experiencing. They can then help them by reading items from a menu or explaining how to operate a vending machine.


In fifteen years, smart glasses might be as ubiquitous as the smartphone is today. But just like all things when they’re first introduced (similar to delivery drones and self-driving cars), there are always concerns. With smart glasses the potential hazards are obvious – added visuals could impact a person’s ability to see clearly when they need to (while they’re driving or cycling, for example). Meanwhile, the public must also be assured that they won’t suffer adverse affects on the head or the eyes by using digital glasses.

Honestly, though, concerns about the safety of smart glasses were pretty hard to come across in the data. Sweeping through the mentions we saw more people talking about how they look goofy than that they were dangerous.

In fact, it seems like in some fields like technicians being remotely assisted they could make working much safer, giving them expert advice in their ears, visual cues to help them understand what they’re working with and two hands to work on the job.

Maybe once we all get over how weird smart glasses can look we’ll all be sitting at work watching cartoons and typing inanely without anyone else being able to see what we’re doing.

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