The Official Ranking Of The John Lewis Christmas Adverts
Since 2007, John Lewis & Partners has released its annual Christmas ad. For many consumers, the much anticipated release signifies the start of the festive period. In fact, in 2018, we started searching for ‘John Lewis Christmas ad’ as early as September, despite it not being released until November each year.
With the 2019 John Lewis & Partners Christmas ad kept tightly underwraps this year, we have created our own metric to rank each of the department store’s past Christmas ads based on search interest and YouTube views. Is your favourite number one?
*Following the department store’s rebrand to John Lewis & Partners, not all historic Christmas ads are available on the brand’s official YouTube channel. Where this is the case, we have taken the highest number of YouTube views from the top third-party video ranking for the advert on YouTube.
Despite a hefty budget, the first three Christmas ads created by the department store — 2007’s “Shadows”, 2008’s “Clues” and 2009’s “The Feeling” — failed to generate the level of anticipation we see today. As you can see from the graph, search interest remains relatively flat in the early years.
However, while many people weren’t Googling the ads, they were watching them on YouTube. The first Christmas ad “Shadows” has received 90,579 views to date, while “Clues” has amassed 834,673 views. 2009’s “The Feeling” has attracted 388,986 views.* As the YouTube figures suggest, momentum around the ads was building.
The 2010 Christmas ad featured a montage of clips of people preparing and hiding gifts. Ellie Goulding covered Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ for the ad and, while search interest for the advert itself was low, Goulding experienced great success. The song charted at number 2 in the UK and to date, the song has received 68,270,811 views on YouTube.
In fact, until April 2014, search interest in Ellie Goulding’s version of the song dwarfed that of Elton John’s original for almost 3.5 years after the release of the advert!
Search Interest in Ellie Goulding- Your Song Search Interest In Elton John – Your Song
The 2012 Christmas ad featured a snowman who embarks on an incredible journey to find the perfect gift for his wife. With search interest still relatively low, the power of the adverts in propelling artists to the top of the charts was clear.
Gabrielle Aplin covered Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘The Power of Love’ for the advert, which charted at number 1. There have been 44,131,604 views of the song’s video on YouTube, dwarfing the 13 million views of the original version’s music video.
2011’s heartwarming ad told the tale of a young boy eagerly counting down the days to Christmas, so he can give a gift to his parents. While search interest increased remained fairly low, the advert’s song, a cover by Slow Moving Milly of The Smiths’ ‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want’— didn’t match Goulding’s chart performance, instead reaching 31 in the charts.
That said, the song is one of Slow Moving Millie’s most played on Spotify, with 1,782,318 streams to date and 2,717,700 views of the song on YouTube.
John Lewis tugged at our heartstrings in 2015 with The Man on the Moon. The story follows a young girl who tries every route possible to send a thoughtful Christmas gift to the lonely man who lives on the moon. Search interest scored a respectable 55/100, however it was the adverts’ song that proved more popular than its predecessor did in 2014.
Swedish singer Aurora’s cover of ‘Half The World Away’ by Oasis racked up 69,761,718 plays on Spotify, surpassing the original version by far. The cover of the song also received 13,336,275 views on YouTube and reached a respectable 11th position within the charts.
2017 saw John Lewis introduce Moz the Monster, who befriends the little boy whose bed he lives beneath. Search interest had grown significantly following the reception of previous years’ adverts with a search score of 75/100. However, YouTube views failed to match previous years, and the song by Elbow didn’t share the same popularity as former advert tracks.
‘Golden Slumbers’ charted at 29, and received 494,005 views on YouTube, indicating that while one of the most anticipated adverts, it did not replicate the success of the others on the list.
In 2013, John Lewis enlisted the help of 2D animation to bring the wonderful tale of a bear who would have missed Christmas without the efforts of a loveable hare. Upon its release, the ad achieved a search interest score of 38/100 and has received 2,245,916 views on YouTube to date.
The song accompanying the advert was similarly successful; Lily Allen’s rendition of ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ by Keane. Charting at number 1, the song remains one of her most popular songs on Spotify nearly 6 years later, achieving 190,310,296 plays on the platform. The music video for the song has racked up a huge 38,324,610 views on YouTube — more than the advert itself!
Monty The Penguin made his screen debut in 2014, with the ad featuring a young boy Sam and his penguin friend Monty, who longs for a companion for Christmas. The search interest score stood at 46/100 on release, which likely coincided with John Lewis launching Monty and Mabel toys in store.
The advert featured a cover of John Lennon’s ‘Real Love’, sung by Tom Odell and received 1,313,732 views on YouTube. The ad was widely considered one of the best and most memorable when it aired, and the song itself reached Number 7 in the charts, also achieving 7,041,422 views on YouTube.
The most searched for John Lewis ad to date is 2016’s Buster The Boxer, which saw a plucky dog beating his owner to bouncing on her new trampoline on Christmas morning. The ad received a search interest score of 100/100, indicating that it was the most anticipated and widely discussed advert, achieving 1,148,375 views on YouTube.
While the song used in the advert, Vaults ‘One Day I’ll Fly’ received only 516,740 views on YouTube, peaking in the charts at 53, the advert itself is one of the most popular to date.
The Boy & The Piano ad from 2018 saw John Lewis explore the power of a gift, inspired by Elton John who provided his own original version of ‘Your Song’ as the featured track. The ad begins with present-day Elton John at his piano, and works backwards through his life until the moment a young Elton is gifted a piano on Christmas morning.
As the first ad to feature a recognizable celebrity, the ad tops our list as the nation’s favourite John Lewis & Partners Christmas ad. While search interest was lower than 2016’s Buster the Boxer, the video achieved a massive 13,904,953 views on YouTube, propelling it to the top of our rankings.
While his version of ‘Your Song’ has received 255,636,181 plays on Spotify reinstating it as the public’s favorite version, the original has been unable to surpass Goulding’s cover on YouTube despite achieving 15,269,906 views.
Whether The Boy & The Piano is your favourite ad or not, you can’t deny that John Lewis is onto a winning formula. The release of the brand’s Christmas advert is now synonymous with the festive period, ensuring the brand is at the forefront of potential customers’ minds during the busiest retail time of the year.
With the release of the 2019 John Lewis Christmas ad expected any day now, we can assume a similar level of interest and coverage not only for the brand, but also for the artists who provide the soundtrack. Who knows; with the right measure of heartwarming content and memorable song, this year’s ad may challenge The Boy & The Piano’s crown as the nation’s favourite.