Love them or loathe them, Christmas adverts are as much a staple of the festive season as the mince pie. While some people happily greet their arrival as the mark of the countdown to Christmas, more pessimistic souls will grumble that October is far too early to be thinking about Christmas.
For some brands Christmas advertising is an effortless process these days. Such is the case with the Coca Cola who have played a huge part in shaping the modern-day image of Santa Claus. Coca Cola famously started including Santa Clause in their Christmas advertising campaigns back in 1931 which was the first depiction of Saint Nick as a jolly rotund man in a red suit.
These days their ‘Holidays are Coming’ advert is regarded by some as the official start of Christmas. That’s pretty good leverage for a brand to have! The advert went disused between 2001 and 2006, until popular demand brought it back. When you consider that last year’s John Lewis advert cost a reported £6 million, being able to roll out the same red trucks every year must make Coca Cola the envy of the advertising world.
Using Brandwatch data we were able to look at the buzz around Christmas adverts through October and see whether the first appearances were greeted positively or negatively. It’s worth noting that the two major players in Christmas advertising, Coca Cola and John Lewis, are yet to launch their Christmas TV advertising campaigns.
The chart above shows how the number of mentions around Christmas adverts steadying grew through the month.
The first major spike occurred on 15th October which can be attributed to the first appearance of DFS’s Christmas advert. Unfortunately for DFS their early arrival appeared to have triggered more negative reactions than positive.
On 16th October negative sentiment counted for 9% of all mentions, the highest percentage for the entire month. Overall the sentiment towards Christmas adverts was still overwhelming positive through the month.
The highest peak of the month occurred on 23rd October and it was @OfficialSanta twitter account that seems to spark this frenzy of conversation.
With over a 1k retweets, John Lewis were quick to jump into the conversation to build up the anticipation of their Christmas advert.
Over the entire month of October there were 10k mentions around Christmas adverts with 22% positive and only 6% negative. 7707 of those mentions occurred on Twitter, making it the most prominent platform for festive discussion.
When it came to the topics people talked about, Coca Cola was the clear winner, with John Lewis the next most discussed brand. The other brands that sparked conversations were DFS, Halfords, and American retailers Target.
Based on the negative reaction towards DFS’s advert and the positive conversations in anticipation of the arrival of Coca Cola and John Lewis ads, perhaps October is too soon for brands to start their Christmas campaign. Instead brands might need to think of better ways of tapping into the positively around Christmas without pushing it too early.