Every year, a range of research companies pop up with some spurious new technique for deciding which retailer’s TV blockbuster has "won Christmas". This year, with time on my hands for the first time in 25 years, I’ve tried to find a more definitive way to settle the argument – and humbly suggest the answer might lie with that source of all knowledge: Google Trends.
I’ve looked at the volume of UK searches for each retailer’s "Christmas advert" over the past month to compare the average level of interest in each creative extravaganza.
We’ll come to John Lewis & Partners in a moment, but here are the top five performers excluding "Excitable Edgar":
Sainsbury’s tale of the exiled chimney sweep hits the highest peak, but Aldi enjoys the highest average level of interest across the period. In fact, Aldi seems to have pulled off a unique trick, with some clever campaign planning to extend interest in its campaign beyond a single spike.
It’s also a good performance from the crazed jumper-wearers (and Christmas market visitors) of Marks & Spencer, the time-travelling Tesco delivery man and Asda’s heartstring-tugging mishmash of Northern Lights, sibling affection and a dead grandad.
So why exclude John Lewis from the initial analysis? Well, because John Lewis smashes everything else out of sight. It doesn’t just win the Christmas ad battle, it destroys the competition to the point where they’re ground into dust at the foot of the chart:
So, in summary, it’s Edgar miles out in front, with Kevin the Carrot winning the race to be best of the rest. It's worth noting, however, that while "Excitable Edgar" is a joint campaign with Waitrose & Partners, the search interest is restricted to John Lewis: here is the above chart with the department store swapped for the supermarket:
Matt Edwards is former chief executive of Engine Creative and Experience Design. He is setting up a marketing consultancy and spending too much time noodling around with Google Trends