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John Lewis Christmas Advertising

John Lewis ‘Excitable Edgar’ torches Christmas ad rivals on brand awareness


By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

December 20, 2019 | 4 min read

John Lewis and Waitrose’s festive fairytale has topped yet another Christmas ad rankings list. YouGov’s research said that ‘Excitable Edgar’ drove more awareness than its retail rivals.


John Lewis and Waitrose’s festive fairytale has topped yet another Christmas ad rankings list / John Lewis & Partners

The fiery dragon mascot also fought off stiff competition from Kevin the Carrot to take the crown for the most beloved brand mascot of 2019. While John Lewis’ Christmas tale about a cursed dragon and a Christmas pudding from Adam&EveDDB drove the most brand awareness, some rivals delivered higher purchase intent.

To gauge the effectiveness of this year’s Christmas ads, YouGov asked its BrandIndex panel of 4,000 consumers whether they’ve seen an ad for a particular company within the past two weeks. Responses were then measured from 11 November, allowing it to compare how each advertiser has performed across the holiday season versus throughout the year.

John Lewis and Waitrose’s awareness score increased by 300% since the ad first aired and remained high throughout December. In contrast, Sainsbury’s period drama-esque advert, released around the same time and starring Nicholas the Sweep, only saw a rise of around 80% for awareness.

M&S Food’s Christmas film, which featured real people tasting its seasonal range, was the next most effective in terms of uplifting awareness. Followed by Tesco’s magical mystery tour through the decades and Asda’s sweet Aurora Borealis-inspired creative. Iceland, Aldi and The Co-op didn’t perform as well.

supermarkets 2

Beyond John Lewis, high street retailers saw little movement in their awareness scores over the period. Brands including Debenhams, the struggling M&S clothing, and even Amazon - which released its ad earlier than the competition – saw little change in their ad awareness over the period.

Debenhams' score peaked at 200% while Very’s actually dipped over the period.


In terms of supermarket consideration scores (which measure whether customers would consider buying from a particular grocer on the back of their Christmas ad), M&S picked up the trophy for 2019 with a 130% jump on its prior ranking.

Although John Lewis and Waitrose’s brand awareness scores were the highest but intent to purchase didn't rise in the same trajectory. Waitrose's actually fell well below Iceland and Tesco when it came to intent to buy. Again, The Co-op performed worst.

Of the retailers, Very saw big changes in its indexed consideration score, rising as high as 140% and dropping below 100%. Amazon, on the other hand, despite investing in a substantial Christmas campaign, saw little variation in its consideration scores.

Crunching the scores in a wider context, a pattern revealed itself: larger brands like John Lewis and Amazon (which averaged 69% across this period compared to 10% for Very) drove less of an uptick because the intent to buy was already so high throughout the whole year.

The last metric for YouGov was Word of Mouth, for which it asked respondents to name the brands they’ve spoken about with friends or family over the festive season.

Unsurprisingly, John Lewis’ topped the list, followed by Amazon.

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