Sainsbury's is crowned this year's most talked about Christmas advert

M&S wins the battle of the Christmas adverts! Supermarket’s foodie TV spot narrated by Olivia Colman was most-loved by social media users – while John Lewis’ hotly-anticipated offering didn’t make the top five

  • M&S Food Christmas advert was received most positively by viewers 
  • Saw The Crown’s Olivia Colman narrate shots of mouth-watering festive food 
  • John Lewis’ hotly anticipated advert only just made top ten most talked about
  • Second came supermarket chain Morrison’s followed by M&S, Lidl and Argos 

M&S Food’s Christmas advert was the most-loved festive TV spot, analysis reveals. 

The British retailer continued a long-running theme of extreme close-ups of food with luxurious narration, this year provided by The Crown star Olivia Colman for a fee to be donated to her preferred charitable causes. 

And it struck a chord with viewers, findings by Mediaocean reveal. 

The company, which provides advertising software and computing services for clients, analysed over 3million social media posts across Facebook and Twitter in the three weeks from November 1 to reveal the adverts that were most engaging and the one viewed most positively.

Marks & Spencer’s food Christmas advert was the most-loved festive TV spot, analysis reveals. The British retailer continued a long-running theme of extreme close-ups of food with luxurious narration, this year provided by The Crown star Olivia Colman for a fee to be donated to her preferred charitable causes

Lego ‘s advert, which playfully brings the creations of children to life to a re-imagined soundtrack of What A Wonderful World entered the top 10 for the first time

Retailers whose adverts received the most positive reaction  

1. M&S (94%)

2. Lego (94%)

3. Morrison’s (87%)

4. Argos (85%)

5. Very (85%) 

6. John Lewis and Partners (84%)

7. Amazon (83%)

8. Asda (83%)  

9. Lidl (81%)

10. Sainsbury’s (79%) 

Retailers whose adverts sparked most social media engagement

1. Sainsbury’s

2. Morrison’s

3. M&S

4. Lidl

5. Argos

6. Asda

7. Amazon

8. Very 

9. Lego

10. John Lewis and Partners

M&S topped to positive review table, known as ‘sentiment’, with the approach resonating with viewers more than the storytelling approach taken by other retailers.

It was followed by LEGO, which reworked Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World with lyrics showing how LEGO can foster creativity, and Morrison’s, with its upbeat Christmas montage. 

The advert that received the least positive response was Sainsbury’s, which received racist criticism over its decision to feature a black family. 

The controversy meant the retailer performed best in Mediaocean’s other measurement of ‘social lift, which measured each brand’s public social media engagements.  

Second on the list was Morrison’s with ‘Making Christmas Special’, an upbeat montage set to Dua Lipa’s pop tune Levitating

John Lewis’ advert, which is often considered the most hotly-anticipated of the season, ranked a disappointing 10th in this list, meaning it did not engage with readers. 

Its story of small acts of kindness, told through a kaleidoscope of different art styles, was well-received but didn’t generate the same buzz as last year.   

Second on the list was Morrison’s with ‘Making Christmas Special’, an upbeat montage set to Dua Lipa’s pop tune Levitating – which also scored in the top three when it came to positive sentiment. 

Online giant Amazon failed to make the top three in either category for its festive offering, which stars a determined ballerina who performs for her neighbours in the snow after her show is cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis. 

The Argos advert shows sisters putting on a fantastical magic show in their living room

The Very Christmas advert, pictured, encourages viewers to celebrate every festive moment

John Lewis’ advert, which is often considered the most hotly-anticipated of the season, snuck in at number ten in this year’s rankings of the most talked about TV spot

Mediaocean measured TV adverts against two criteria: sentiment and TV social lift. 

TV social lift measures each brand’s public social media engagements in the two-minute period after the start of a TV ad, and compares them to the brand’s public social media engagement rate in the two minutes prior to the ad airing.  

This indicates how much more likely a consumer is to engage with the brand on social media after seeing its ad on TV.  

Sentiment shows the percentage of public social media engagements that were positive and not negative.  

Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has been named the retailer with this year’s most talked about Christmas advert 

Lidl’s ‘Big on a Christmas you can believe in’ advert featuring animated characters scored well in social reaction

Aaron Goldman, CMO at Mediaocean, commented: ‘This year’s Christmas ad season has obviously presented brands with a unique challenge – and a unique opportunity.

‘After the most socially disrupted year in most people’s living memory, millions are looking forward to the holiday period as a respite from the gloom, where they can reconnect with what matters most to them. 

‘In response, we have seen brands bring that Christmas spirit to people early with the majority bringing forward their campaigns by more than three weeks. 

‘And it’s unsurprising that a lot of the top-performing ads are tapping into sentimentality more than ever, from John Lewis’s mixed-style journey of kindness to Sainsburys’ family phone calls.’   

Asda’s advert sees a family celebrating the holiday with a ‘smaller party’ but ‘really making the most of it’ amid the Covid-19 crisis, but failed to make the top three on either list 

Amazon failed to make the top three in either category for its festive offering, which stars a determined ballerina who performs for her neighbours in the snow after her show is cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis 

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