A Social Media Analysis of the 2015 John Lewis Christmas Advert

How social listening can help with comparative benchmarking

On Friday 6th November, the most hotly anticipated advertising campaign of the year hit television screens, computers, laptops, tablets and phones around the UK, as this year’s tear-jerking John Lewis Christmas Advert, #ManOnTheMoon, kicked off the festive season for many.
The £1 million ($1.5 million) production was created for another year by communications agency Adam & Eve DDB, soundtracked by a delicate cover of Oasis’ Half The World Away and designed to raise awareness for Age UK.
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As expected, social media response to the advert was significant and continues to increase in online conversation year-on-year. The illustration below displays the number of mentions over the last five John Lewis Christmas adverts, calculating the number of posts on their respective launch dates and the two days thereafter.
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#ManOnTheMoon Insights
Following on from two years of successful adverts featuring cuddly animals – The Bear and The Hare in 2013 and #MontyThePenguin in 2014 – John Lewis has this year pulled on the heartstrings to raise awareness and donations for Age UK, “the UK’s largest charity working with older people”. The #ManOnTheMoon campaign which ranges from the TV advert to a Man on the Moon app and merchandise, embraces the strapline “Show someone they’re loved this Christmas” and mirrors Age UK’s “No one should have no one at Christmas”.
The retailer’s 2015 campaign received a total of 540 million potential impressions on social media on the day of it’s launch, with 82% of mentions sourced in the UK and a split of 61% female and 31% male involvement.
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Categorising conversation using the Crimson Hexagon platform allows us to intuitively identify how the public responded to the advert, looking far beyond basic insights such as volumes and demographics.
The illustration below indicates how conversation was spread on the day of the launch, excluding retweets and neutral & news sharing mentions from the analysis in order to accurately measure sentiment towards the advert.
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A third of conversation originated from mentions of the advert being emotional, making viewers cry, but notably in a positive manner as the poignant nature of the campaign delivered a touching message to many. Combining emotional sentiment to mentions of positivity towards the advert accounted for 50% of the total conversation.
As expected, with #ManOnTheMoon the top UK trend for hours on the day of the advert’s launch, 16% of conversation stemmed from users directing their attention to comedy and highlighting the unrealistic aspects of the advert – with some highly influential authors getting involved and ultimately from a marketing point of view; usefully continuing the generation of traction for the campaign.
Of those commenting on 19-year old Aurora’s soft cover of the classic Oasis song, Half The World Away, most reacted positively and were appreciative the song choice. Elsewhere there was a fairly even distribution of comments associating #ManOnTheMoon directly to the partner charity, Age UK, and mentions from those who preferred 2014’s playful campaign, #MontyThePenguin. Linking the volumes of those who favoured the 2014 campaign and those that were disappointed in #ManOnTheMoon accounted for 13% of conversation.


Comparing #ManOnTheMoon conversation to 2014’s #MontyThePenguin advert with parallel categorisation allows us to highlight how the share of conversation in the respective campaigns compares against one another.
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The comparative illustration highlights that in the 2014 campaign conversation was spread across the categories more evenly than the 2015 advert – with emotional sentiment towards the advert and preferring the previous year’s campaign being more prevalent in the share of 2015 conversation. Notably in comparison to #ManOnTheMoon, the share of conversation was more heavily weighted towards praise or criticism of the song choice in the 2014 campaign – as Tom Odell took the reigns of John Lennon’s Real Love.

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The release of the John Lewis Christmas Advert has come to be synonymous with the public viewpoint that the run up to Christmas has officially begun. At Crimson Hexagon we are determined in demonstrating the value of social media in tackling demanding business questions and understanding customer perception – with extra emphasis during the crucial Christmas period full of marketing campaigns across all industries.

But before then, let’s spare a thought for Mr Lewis, who appears to get caught up in all of this year after year…

To learn more about the value of social media analytics throughout the agency campaign lifecycle, download our report here.

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