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The Brandwatch Christmas Adverts Rankings 2018

The major UK Christmas adverts of 2018, ranked using social media data.

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REPORTThe Brandwatch Christmas Adverts Rankings 2018

We're making a list, we're checking it twice.

Big brands battle it out every year to grab consumers’ attention in the increasingly saturated field of Christmas ads.

2018 has seen some new contenders enter the fray, but how have the newcomers fared against seasoned warriors like John Lewis?

This year we opted for a totally new system of ranking – not just mentions and sentiment. We’ve looked at social shares, Twitter mentions, positive sentiment, and added our own “expert opinion” scores. Because, you know, we’re experts. You can read more about how we ranked the ads in the methodology section.

Here are the major UK Christmas adverts of 2018, ranked using social data.



0 pts

Argos are, sadly, at the bottom of the bunch despite the effort that’s gone into their ad this year. The Christmas Fool, a festive villain who specialises in hiding the sellotape and messing with lighting displays, is a fresh take on the often two dimensional, amiable protagonists of Christmas ads gone by. That said, people did not respond particularly well to his antics and the ad did pretty poorly across the board.

Mentions: 23rd place
Social shares: 14th place
Positive sentiment: 21%
Brandwatch Team rating: 6/10


TK Maxx

5 pts

Christmas ads often take a surreal tack these days, and TK Maxx’s efforts have definitely gone down this route. Showcasing the year in the life of a family home infested with a giant stocking, it ties into a real-life promotion where shoppers win big if they find their own monstrous piece of festive footwear.

Mentions: 24th place
Social shares: 20th place
Positive sentiment: 48%
Brandwatch Team rating: 6/10



8 pts

In one of the more bizarre entries on the list, KFC pits poultry against poultry in scenes hugely reminiscent to the opening of Red Dead Redemption 2. For the most part it’s simply a chicken trekking through snow, and there’s not a hint of Christmas to it except for the weather.

You can read more about how KFC celebrates Christmas around the world here.

Mentions: 18th place
Social shares: 11th place
Positive sentiment: 83%
Brandwatch Team rating: 1/10


(JOINT) Asda

9 pts

Asda’s ad is an explosion of Christmas related merriment, and their #BringChristmasHome hashtag is a nice nod to the #ItsComingHome madness 2018 will be remembered for. It was one of the earliest Christmas ads to hit our screens, but a longer time spent collecting mentions didn’t boost it too highly up the rankings.

Mentions: 16th place
Social shares: 13th place
Positive sentiment: 75%
Brandwatch Team rating: 4/10


(JOINT) Debenhams

9 pts

Debenhams’ ad this year focuses on gift giving and odd facial expressions. While it’s been praised for putting the shopper at the forefront, it’s not exactly a blockbuster. With an awkward slogan (“Do a bit of you-know-you-did-good”), it seems Debenhams unfortunately missed the mark.

Mentions: 17th place
Social shares: 21st place
Positive sentiment: 72%
Brandwatch Team rating: 4/10


(JOINT) Amazon

10 pts

Amazon have gotten involved again, bringing back their singing boxes of 2017. Facing a similar problem to Lego with creating something for a global audience, it looks familiar and unfamiliar at the same time – like some kind of uncanny Christmas valley effect. Having said that, add the Winter Soldier suddenly get a very different advert theme over-the-top and you.

Mentions: 12th place
Social shares: 10th place
Positive sentiment: 74%
Brandwatch Team rating: 5/10


(JOINT) JD Sports

10 pts

Whoever said Christmas can’t just be standing in an ice cave? Certainly not JD, who have roped in the likes of Jaden Smith, Anthony Joshua, and Ella Eyre to do just that. The reliance on big names hasn’t paid off too badly, though, with the ad doing well on positive sentiment.

Mentions: 9th place
Social shares: 23rd place
Positive sentiment: 83%
Brandwatch Team rating: 3/10



11 pts

Lidl came in with multiple festive adverts, including our favorite in which a man hires some snow but it doesn’t go to plan. Following in the same vein of their usual short joke-based ads, this one managed to crack a few smiles on people’s faces.

Mentions: 22nd place
Social shares: 18th place
Positive sentiment: 81%
Brandwatch Team rating: 4/10


(JOINT) Littlewoods

11 pts

Featuring a popular song from Panic at the Disco, Littlewoods gained favor from music fans but not the public at large (compared to the competition, at least). The ad failed to get people talking, while it was ranked very poorly by our Brandwatch experts.

Mentions: 25th place
Social shares: 25th place
Positive sentiment: 86%
Brandwatch Team rating: 3/10



12 pts

This is the first time we’ve included Lego in a Christmas ad ranking but, while slick and high quality, it’s failed to resonate. With a broad global market to target, it doesn’t seem to have chimed with people enough to get them talking and sharing. Not to mention it’s lacking many things Christmassy. Good luck next year, Lego!

Mentions: 19th place
Social shares: 24th place
Positive sentiment: 95%
Brandwatch Team rating: 3/10


(JOINT) Currys PC World

13 pts

Currys PC World put in a good effort this year, but their mentions weren’t without controversy. The main problems centred around the perceived earliness of their ad and their inclusion of a real-life football team being beaten by their fierce rival (Wimbledon 4 – MK Dons 0), which drew a lot of criticism from fans initially. After some time this evened out, but the damage was done.

Mentions: 21st place
Social shares: 17th place
Positive sentiment: 73%
randwatch Team rating: 8/10


(JOINT) Co-op

13 pts

Co-op brings customers to the forefront, asking when Christmas starts for them. The fast-paced advert released much later than most ads on our list has served them well, landing them mid-table.

Mentions: 20th place
Social shares: 22nd place
Positive sentiment: 85%
Brandwatch Team rating: 6/10


(JOINT) Tesco

13 pts

No one can really agree on what makes Christmas Christmas. We all have our own ways of cooking, lazing, and drinking. So Tesco have tapped into that with a montage of arguments about what creates the perfect festive day.

Mentions: 14th place
Social shares: 16th place
Positive sentiment: 76%
Brandwatch Team rating: 7/10



14 pts

BBC One’s Christmas film centres around a busy mum and her son who struggle to find the time to hang out. Luckily, some kind of Christmas magic stops time and they’re able to have a fun wintery time by the seaside.

As a Brighton-based company we can confirm that this isn’t the best time of year to go near the sea, but Christmas cheer conquers all.

Mentions: 11th place
Social shares: 15th place
Positive sentiment: 88%
Brandwatch Team rating: 6/10


(JOINT) Boots

15 pts

Boots landed a solid place in our rankings with this tear-jerker. It’s got great rankings from the Brandwatch team and seems to have gone down nicely on social. It goes to show that sentimentality can still trump the surreal direction a lot of brands took in 2018.

Mentions: 7th place
Social shares: 8th place
Positive sentiment: 70%
Brandwatch Team rating: 8/10


(JOINT) Waitrose

15 pts

Like Aldi and Debenhams, Waitrose have gone in with multiple adverts this year. The tactic has landed them at a respectable number 8 – not bad! People were particularly fond of the tongue-in-cheek mocking of John Lewis’ advert featuring two parents fast forwarding it so they can get some food.

Mentions: 13th place
Social shares: 17th place
Positive sentiment: 95%
Brandwatch Team rating: 4/10


(JOINT) International Committee of the Red Cross

15 pts

We’re used to Christmas ads being emotional with plenty tugging at the heart strings. But not in the way the International Committee of the Red Cross’ one does. Focusing on an incredibly dark scene, they’ve tried to get people to think beyond what Christmas looks like in their own homes this year.

It’s done pretty well, too. The response on Twitter was overwhelmingly popular and it’s sparked plenty of conversation.

Mentions: 10th place
Social shares: 12th place
Positive sentiment: 98%
Brandwatch Team rating: 5/10



16 pts

Cadbury focused on secret santa this year and, while the masks are a little bit creepy, they’ve actually got themselves a pretty good spot in the top 10. We all love surprising people with gifts so there’s no shock that this has done well.

Mentions: 15th place
Social shares: 19th place
Positive sentiment: 96%
Brandwatch Team rating: 6/10


(JOINT) McDonald's

18 pts

The fast food giant’s contribution this year balances a bit of storyline with outright promotion. Hungry reindeers, Santa going down the chimney. It ticks plenty of boxes and scored well, even if it lacks a certain festive je ne sais quoi.

Mentions: 6th place
Social shares: 5th place
Positive sentiment: 89%
Brandwatch Team rating: 3/10


(JOINT) Marks and Spencer

18 pts

Marks and Spencer entered the rankings with a customer-focused video about favorite Christmas foods, playing into the brand being a favorite for Christmas treats. Well played M&S.

Mentions: 5th place
Social shares: 9th place
Positive sentiment: 96%
Brandwatch Team rating: 4/10



19 pts

We wouldn’t have guessed an airline would do so well in our list, especially making it into the final top five, but here we are. Heathrow bought back the much-loved Heathrow Bears and shot up the list quick. Given that airlines are typically some of the least positively discussed brands on social, it’s a real achievement.

Mentions: 8th place
Social shares: 6th place
Positive sentiment: 95%
Brandwatch Team rating: 6/10



23 pts

Kevin the Carrot returned again and there’s plenty to see of him, with a whole bunch of adverts chronicling his adventures. The first mimics Coca-Cola’s classic Christmas truck, gaining them a jump in attention. With a lot of people positively discussing the ad, it find itself in 4th place.

Mentions: 3rd place
Social shares: 3rd place
Positive sentiment: 70%
Brandwatch Team rating: 7/10



28 pts

Sainsbury’s have done well this year with a very cute school Christmas show with an enormous budget and a kid dressed as an electric plug . It’s well worth a watch, and it’s scored highly all round. Kudos to “plug boy” for his stunt work – it really helped boost Sainsbury’s Christmas convo this year.

Mentions: 4th place
Social shares: 4th place
Positive sentiment: 96%
Brandwatch Team rating: 8/10



30 pts

This is a hugely interesting placement on our list. Iceland blew the other ads out of the water in terms of shares and mentions, despite the fact it won’t appear on TV.

The advert is reportedly banned for being “too political”, and that has come under a lot of scrutiny on social media. While lots of Christmas ads have been cause-related before, this not-very-Christmassy take on traditional Christmas time promotions has caused a real stir.

Mentions: 1st place
Social shares: 1st place
Positive sentiment: 85%
Brandwatch Team rating: 3/10


John Lewis

31 pts

The long-awaited John Lewis advert arrived later than expected but didn’t fail to generate an enormous reaction. It is, predictably, our number one this year, just about pipping Iceland with better sentiment and staff ratings.

Charting the life of one of the UK’s most successful musicians of all time, Elton John, the retailer makes us all realise that the right gift can change someone’s life forever.

Mentions: 2nd place
Social shares: 2nd place
Positive sentiment: 94%
Brandwatch Team rating: 6/10

The Brandwatch Christmas Ad Rankings 2018

Overall rank Brand name Rank for number of tweets Rank for number of shares on social Positive sentiment % Average Brandwatch staff score /10 Aggregate score
1 John Lewis 2 2 94% 6 31
2 Iceland 1 1 85% 3 30
3 Sainsbury's 4 4 96% 8 28
4 Aldi 3 3 70% 7 23
5 Heathrow 8 6 95% 6 19
6 Marks and Spencer 5 9 96% 4 18
6 McDonald's 6 5 89% 3 18
7 Cadbury 15 19 96% 6 16
8 Red Cross 10 12 98% 5 15
8 Waitrose 13 7 95% 4 15
8 Boots 7 8 70% 8 15
9 BBC One 11 15 88% 6 14
10 Tesco 14 16 76% 7 13
10 Co-op 20 22 85% 6 13
10 Currys PC World 21 17 73% 8 13
11 Lego 19 24 95% 3 12
12 Lidl 22 18 81% 4 11
12 Littlewoods 25 25 86% 3 11
13 JD Sport 9 23 83% 3 10
13 Amazon 12 10 74% 5 10
14 Debenhams 17 21 72% 4 9
14 Asda 16 13 75% 4 9
15 KFC 18 11 83% 1 8
16 TK Maxx 24 20 48% 6 5
17 Argos 23 14 21% 6 0

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