Still with a few weeks left to the biggest holiday of the year, YouTube uncovers its global and UK’s leader-boards of the most popular Christmas adverts. As these mostly heart-warming stories become a vital part of the consumer society and the holiday zeitgeist (which can be compared the commercial breaks during American football’s Super Bowl), more and more people all over the world are fixing their eyes towards YouTube to find them. And as a result of this, YouTube has seen over 50% increase in the number of UK views of the 2016 Top 10 versus the 2015 Top 10.
We will not spoil the which ad tops YouTube’s annual festive leader-board globally*, although it was beaten by the most popular with the British audience*, as YouTube’s ‘league tables’ have revealed today on 6th December. David Black, MD of Branding at Google UK, said that: “We see people coming to YouTube again and again to look for their favourite Christmas ads. In fact, they start searching before the ads are launched on TV – we have seen a 40% year on year increase in Google searches for Christmas ads.”
He also explains how brands are getting to know the value of YouTube as platform to present these Christmas ads and according to Black “when they use paid, owned and earned media together, they see strong results. They see YouTube as a platform for creativity and storytelling, where they can harness the power of sight, sound and motion to connect with consumers.”
The leader-boards present a couple of interesting insights, as “more brands than ever are making Christmas ads that users love. Now, the likes of H&M, Burberry, Coca-Cola and even Heathrow Airport are joining John Lewis and Sainsbury’s and performing brilliantly this year. Here in the UK, Sainsbury’s quintessentially British commercial, playing on our love of stop-motion animation, has captured the public’s imagination. It’s great to see UK brands leading the way with Christmas ads, and exciting to see American, Brazilian and German brands tapping into this opportunity to put themselves at the heart of a global cultural moment every year.”
So, without further ado, here are the best ads according to YouTube’s viewership:
10. Coming Home for Christmas | Heathrow Airport
Created by one of the largest global advertising and communications groups in the world, Havas, and directed by a film directing partnership of Dom & Nic (who are also responsible for Oasis’ D’You Know What I Mean video), this wonderful homecoming of two lovable teddy bears shows how even an airport can be place of happy memories.
9. Keep them busy (30) | TEMPTATIONS™
This 30-second video from festive period specialists, adam&eveDDB, is definitely one of our favourites Christmas ads. If you wish to watch the full video and read the story behind feline Temptations, visit our article here, or just watch the short-clip full of paws-lashing, pouncing, and of course – trademark cat cuteness.
8. Come Together | H&M
Now with around 7 million views, the H&M Lines Winter Express takes you on a journey directed by Wes Anderson and stars Adrien Brody as a conductor. This winter train ride is “the perfect setting for H&M’s holiday collection full of relaxed, wearable elegance. It’s about mixing the informal with a sense of occasion, capturing the holiday mood for both dressing up and getting cosy with loved ones.” adam&eveDDB yet again deliver a visually stunning, and likeable short film that makes people ‘Come Together’ under hard conditions.
7. Christmas with Love from Mrs Claus | M&S
The new advert by King’s Speech director Tom Hooper presents us with a new Christmas icon by Marks and Spencer — Mrs Claus who is urged, in a modern twist on the much-loved, bearded character, to help make peace with Jack’s sister Anna, by replacing some dog-eaten trainers. So, Mrs Claus sends her husband away on his well-known sleigh adventures, and then secretly (and we must say stylishly) makes her way to her secret lair, dressing in red and shooting off on a ski-jet and helicopter, named R-DOLF, to deliver Anna’s surprise Christmas present – a pair of new , glittering red trainers.
“Our Christmas with Love campaign is a brand new approach for M&S this year, one that has been created with our customers and for our customers, with their feedback at the heart of our strategy”, said Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, executive director of customer, marketing and M&S.com. “Our ambition is for M&S’s customers across the nation to experience something special this festive season.”
6. Frankie’s Holiday | Apple
In a slightly frightening commercial, an unexpected holiday visitor, presented by Frankenstein’s monster, receives the warm welcome he’s always dreamed of. Here, Apple provides a nice connection between Halloween and Christmas, and let’s Frankie, a lonely monster who lives in a secluded cabin, bring a package with ornaments to a town square and start singing “Home for the Holidays” by Perry Como on his iPhone.
While he not-surprisingly shocks the large group of people in the town – as he is portrayed by Everybody Loves Raymond star, Brad Garrett, who stands 6’8″ tall — a young girl urges ‘Frankie’ to come forward, and everyone joins along in singing with him in an ad that tells you to “Open your heart to everyone”.
5. Neste Natal, agradeça com | Coca-Cola
This ad for Coca-Cola Brazil has now over 8 millions views and shows a young make who takes his time to appreciate people who make a difference in our lives. So, the soda-producing company invites you to thank those special people in a different way, by offering a Coke. People in Brazil can now send a bottle of coke to their loved ones on a dedicated website.
4. #Zeitschenken | EDEKA
This German advert, set to a song “Müssen” (loosely translated as ‘You must/need to’) by artist Antje Schomaker, show us what our children don’t want their parents to do. They do not care about visiting winter markets, baking a perfect cake, winter tyres, your to-do list, or if the Christmas lights are impeccably in place. They believe in just one gift and it is “the best gift is time spent with you”.
3. The Tale of Thomas Burberry |Burberry
Reaching the winners’ podium, in the third place we have Burberry’s festive film inspired by the pioneering discoveries of the company’s founder, Thomas Burberry, that captures the brand’s 160 years by reimagining key events that have shaped its history. Although only this advert does not really capture the heart of Christmas, its impressive show of craftsmanship does resemble a full trailer for a film directed by Academy Award-winner Asif Kapadia (who also directed last year’s Amy Winehouse documentary, Amy) and starring Domhnall Gleeson, Sienna Miller, Dominic West and Lily James.
The lavish three-minute clip was shot over six days in England, with the screenplay written by Academy Award nominee Matt Charman. Sets from the film, including Thomas Burberry’s workshop, were inspired by archive materials. The title theme of the piece is called ‘Diminuendo‘ and was performed by Lawless featuring Britt Warner. This talent on show and a story of Burberry’s brilliance might one day become a full feature film, as wanted by Lily James and various Twitter users.
2. The Greatest Gift | Sainsbury’s
Coming second in the global ranks, and topping the UK’s part of the charts*, Sainsbury’s Christmas advert for 2016 tells a heart-warming story of Dave, who is a hard-working and devoted dad, that comes up with an ingenious plan to make sure that he can do what everyone wishes to do so during the holidays – spend more time with his family. The three-and-a-half-minute long ad was directed by British film director, screenwriter, voice actor and animator, Sam Fell, and was made using a combination of meticulous, hand crafted stop frame animation and cutting edge 3D colour printing technology in Britain. You can also watch behind the scenes of making this colourful and entertaining commercial and find out more about the incredible craft.
1. #BusterTheBoxer | John Lewis
It seems that the jumping #BusterTheBoxer is this year everyone’s favourite, and YouTube viewers are no exception. This brilliant piece of work makes adam&eveDDB the most successful agency within the list, with three brilliant and diverse entries. The winning, and inspirationally joyful film tells the story of John Lewis’ Buster the Boxer and truly captures how a Christmas gift can be loved by everyone.
From all of us at branding.news, we wish you a happy and positive festive season. And here’s a little gift for you – naturally another brilliant ad, this time an animated almost-fairy-tale-like and longer-length ad made specifically for YouTube — by pure-play digital company Very.co.uk and a top 25 independent creative agency St Luke’s — that finished sixth in YouTube’s Top 10 Christmas ads of 2016, Get More Out of Giving.
NOTE: *Both leader-boards are ranked based on an algorithm that includes paid views, organic views and how much of a video people watched. The UK list includes only views from people in the UK. For both lists we applied a filter to capture the ads that were referring to Christmas.