Home Leeds Woven reveal a declining interest in John Lewis Christmas adverts

Woven reveal a declining interest in John Lewis Christmas adverts

John Lewis Woven Illustration

By utilising social listening tools that monitor, collate and analyse public conversations online and on social media, Woven Agency have revealed a falling interest in John Lewis Christmas campaigns.

Studying the past five years of the retail giant’s Christmas adverts (2013 – 2017), Woven have uncovered a generally downward trajectory in the number of public conversations being had about them.

Going by the number of mentions recorded, 2014’s Monty The Penguin advert was by far the most successful, scoring 151,000 mentions. Since then, the numbers have dwindled: 2015’s Man On The Moon achieved 64,000 mentions, 2016’s Buster The Boxer achieved 76,000, and last year’s Moz The Monster achieved just 52,000.

The pressure will surely be on John Lewis this year to arrest the slide and reaffirm themselves as the kings of the Christmas campaign.

“We think that’s why they’re willing to spend a reputed £5,000,000 on securing Elton John’s services for this year’s ad,” explained Daniel Swepson, Woven’s Head of Marketing.

“Our results show that John Lewis aren’t the talk of the town when it comes to Christmas anymore. So they really need to do something big to take back the crown and get people interested in them again.”

2013: The Bear and The Hare

A heartwarming tale of the importance of spending Christmas with the ones you love, The Bear and The Hare was a success on the social listening front. Spurred on by Lilly Allen’s pitch-perfect soundtrack (it reached number one in the UK charts), charming animated story and positive mentions from the BBC, Caroline Flack and Jeremy Clarkson, it raked in over 80,000 mentions.

2014: Monty The Penguin

Proving that you can’t go far wrong with cute and furry animals, Monty The Penguin was a stellar year for John Lewis. The campaign hoovered up 151,000 mentions and attracted the online attention of Mashable and primo popsters, Little Mix. John Lewis created a Monty Twitter account, too, to promote the perky little penguin.

Even some negative feedback around Monty’s prohibitive £95 price tag couldn’t stop it becoming one of John Lewis’ most popular ads ever.

2015: Man On The Moon

Monty was always going to be a hard act to follow, and so it proved, with 2015’s Man On The Moon marking a potential turning point in the John Lewis Christmas journey. Maybe it was because of the lack of adorable animals. Perhaps it was the downright depressing idea of an old man being sad, lonely and a million (ish) miles away from anyone on Christmas Day. But, whatever the reason, this one just didn’t resonate.
Man On The Moon registered just 64,000 mentions – down 57% from 2015 – and drew negative responses from the likes of Noel Gallagher (who claimed he’d ‘sold out’ by allowing his song to be used) and Piers Morgan.

2016: Buster The Boxer

Returning to safer ground, 2016’s Buster The Boxer once more used cute and furry creatures to sell the meaning of Christmas. This ad, however, favoured a more humorous approach as opposed to the traditional tugging of the heartstrings. Which might be why it wasn’t quite as popular as previous efforts, amassing 76,000 mentions.

It also received some backlash by – look away now, kids – suggesting that Santa might not be real. Well done, John Lewis, you just killed Christmas.

2017: Moz The Monster

Unfortunately for the retailers, 2017’s Moz The Monster marked a low point in their Christmas campaign history. Either because people didn’t get the story or didn’t feel it was festive enough, Moz garnered a measly 52,000 mentions, many of which were negative.
‘Let’s hope this year’s John Lewis Christmas ad is their last’ said The Independent, whilst YouTube influencer, Zoella, tweeted to her 13 million followers that it lacked emotion.

Oh, and being accused of plagiarism probably didn’t help, either…