How John Lewis gave itself the most engaging early bird Christmas Present


Ranjani Raghupathi

August 8, 2014 4 min read

Updated on September 18, 2019

While the whole world waits for Christmas day, we at Unmetric are waiting for all the Christmas campaigns so we can sink our teeth into all the tasty data. If you think about it, hearing about and waiting to watch a new ad is not very different from unwrapping a present: the excitement, the anticipation and that inability to wait any longer to unravel the mystery, is common to both.

At John Lewis, it’s probably been a tradition since 2007 to deliver a Christmas ad in early November. The ads have always been beautiful packed and elegantly topped off with strings of emotions, kind of like an actual present. This year was no different, except, it didn’t just get everyone going “aww”, but also ramped up conversations and engagement on the brand’s social pages.


The advert was uploaded on to the brand’s YouTube channel on the 8th of November. In just a week, the view count shot up to over five million, thus beating previous records and is now the most viewed video in the channel with over seven million hits. The video, an animated story of a bear, hare and their Christmas, brings to mind many Disney movies and leaves behind the same warmth, even after the 5th view. Lily Allen’s voice adds that extra magic that gives the ad the X-factor.

The combination of the concept, music and animation had people watching and sharing the video multiple times. Other than being sharable, the video also assured people that they’d enjoy other videos from the channel as well. Right after the video was uploaded, the brand witnessed a 150% spike in its subscriber growth rate when they added over 8,000 new followers in just one week.

The video didn’t just have an impact on YouTube, it had an effect on the brand’s Twitter and Facebook metrics as well. Their tweet featuring the ad received over 7,000 re-tweets, 4,500 favorites and over 2,000 replies. To measure the reach of the Tweet, we used Unmetric’s Engagement Score which takes in to account the number of Re-tweets, Favorites and Replies to give the Tweet or hashtag a benchmarkable score thus enabling easy comparison. The tweet tops the chart and receives an Engagement Score of 1,000.

Even the hashtag #bearandhare was used over 12,000 times by the Twitterati and garnered an Engagement Score of 1,000.

Other than receiving sky high engagement, they also added over 11,000 new followers and witnessed a spike in mentions and re-tweets.

Even the Facebook post revealing the ad, received an Engagement Score of 2,429. Unmetric’s Engagement Score for Facebook takes in to consideration the number of Likes, Shares, Comments and Estimated Impressions each post receives to give it a benchmarkable score that enables easy comparison. This post scored the highest engagement and is the most engaging post among all others posted by John Lewis in the last 6 months.

The video is a testament to how humor isn’t the only route to a great video but that emotion can also go a long way. It is also evidence to how long form videos when well executed can hold the attention of an audience. Tripling the YouTube subscriber base, hitting the roof with engagement on Facebook and capturing follower attention on Twitter, all with one single video is no easy job. Spending £7 million and earning 7m views on YouTube alone, it works out at a pretty cool £1 per viewer, which I’m sure will translate in to some excellent ROI for the retail chain! The ad has obviously been well crafted and disseminated across multiple networks to reach every possible spectator, and just as the metrics tells us, the ad has already proved to be an early bird Christmas present for the much loved retail brand.

Unmetric compiled this report by sourcing data from its social media benchmarking platform. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube statistics were gathered from May 1st to November 15th, 2013. Gain access to all this data by claiming a 6 day free trial.

This article was initially published on Business 2 Community.

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