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Sainsbury’s wins Christmas battle of YouTube views

Sainsbury’s looks like it’s won Christmas in the UK, thanks in part to the antics of AMV BBDO’s Mog in ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ (we shouldn’t forget author Judith Kerr either).

This ad, our choice as Ad of the Year, is closing on 27m YouTube views, displacing last year’s John Lewis effort ‘Monty the Penguin’ with 26.5m as the most viewed UK Christmas ad to date. Jung von Matt’s tearjerker for German supermarket Edeka has 44m, so we Brits mustn’t get carried away.

Sainsbury’s is also expected to out-perform its domestic rivals Asda, Tesco and co. when the market share figures are counted. Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe, who took over from Justin King in July 2014, has done a great job so far; taking a hit early on (as you do) but coming up with an attractive combo of quality and price to stem the inroads of Aldi and Lidl. Morrisons founder Sir Ken Morrison has even bought a big tranche of shares in Sainsbury’s. You could hardly have a clearer message about Sainsbury’s. Or for the current Morrisons management, for that matter.

So have John Lewis and agency adam&eveDDB been knocked off their Christmas perch? A&E still occupies one, our Agency of the Year.

Yes and no. A&E’s ‘Man on the Moon’ has 23m YouTube views – pretty good by any standards – and beat Sainsbury’s in terms of social media mentions and likes. And John Lewis seems to be packing them in as we near Christmas Day. It doesn’t compete directly with Sainsbury’s although sibling Waitrose does. We can probably expect fireworks from A&E and Waitrose next year when the agency has a full year’s run at it.

There was an interesting although rather soft focus programme on John Lewis and Christmas on BBC2 earlier this week. The commission itself must have been influenced by the success of JL’s Christmas ads. Anyway, there we were with JL marketing boss Craig Inglis (who seems a nice guy) and his team expressing misgivings about an early cut of ‘Man on the Moon.’ Too downbeat (verging on miserable) they thought.

A&E ECD Ben Priest seemed to be sprouting grey hairs as the meeting unfolded. But there was a solution – balloons! Cue happiness all round.

In truth the ending does seem a bit bolted on but it’s still a great ad. And there’s no doubt that the advertising, for both Sainsbury’s and John Lewis, has acted as a rallying call for both huge businesses. Which is good for the ad business too.

PS Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers.

(This is an updated version of an earlier post).

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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