Festive Advertising – who tops the UK 2018 Christmas Ad Rankings?

Dec 14, 2018

The holiday season is a time for people to come together and indulge in personal traditions. And while gathering around an open fire has been a part of festive traditions for hundreds of years, in more recent times, families have crowded around another source of heat: the television set.

Television holds a special place in our hearts during the holidays. Festive films are always popular family fare, and alongside the classic movies like It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street, we now have the new Christmas classic Love Actually. Is Die Hard a Christmas film? The debate rages on.

Christmas and Thanksgiving specials are also a staple of holiday season entertainment. Many long-running TV series have classic special episodes that can be seen year after year thanks to syndication or OTT viewing options. The Friends Thanksgiving episodes are popular in many countries where they have never even sat down around a Joey-sized turkey.

Festive programming may be heart-warming, but it is also lucrative. Thanksgiving is one of the biggest TV viewing days in the US, with the combination of Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and NFL games producing huge audiences and driving advertising revenue. According to Kantar Media, Thanksgiving produced an estimated $280 million in ad revenue in 2016, due to a perfect storm of people being at home ahead of the Black Friday shopping frenzy.

In the UK, Christmas has produced some of the biggest ever TV audiences. In 1978, half the population tuned in to watch the comedy duo Morecambe & Wise. In 2017, the post-lunch annual Queen’s Speech broadcast was the most watched show of Christmas Day, drawing in 8 million viewers, even beating Doctor Who – now moved (or in Who-speak “regenerated”) to New Year’s Day.

Top entities for Doctor Who

The newest Christmas tradition in the UK is the launch of the Christmas television adverts from the biggest names on the high street. Retailers spend millions creating mini-movies that are shown during prime TV slots. John Lewis is the seasonal benchmark all other adverts are judged against. For 12 years, British viewers have loved a combination of tear-jerking songs and tear-jerking Christmas stories. This year the living legend Elton John plays Your Song on a time-travelling piano, leaving not a dry eye in the house and not an empty basket in the department store.

Top entities for Elton John

From John Lewis to Coca-Cola, advertisers are now building sophisticated integrated marketing campaigns using TV and social media at Christmas. The complementary nature of these channels means that many advertisers now post previews of their TV adverts on social media before they air to build anticipation. To gauge which adverts created the most buzz on social media this Christmas, 4C measured their TV Social Lift impact. TV Social Lift measures a brand’s social interactions for the first two minutes from when their TV advert was aired in comparison to their average engagement rate. Ultimately, it shows how much more likely someone is to engage with a brand after seeing its advert.

TV Social Lift for UK advertisers during the Christmas season

All these festive adverts are harvested and then tracked across over 2,100 global TV channels via 4C’s proprietary Teletrax monitoring network. Utilising the Scope platform, cross-channel ads can be synced with TV airings in real-time. Advertisers, content owners, news agencies, sports events and brands can discover where their footage aired via the world’s largest monitoring network.

Our network never takes a day off and will work right through the festive period, ensuring that no opportunity is missed.