A new study has revealed the most impactful Christmas advertisements of the 21st Century – with John Lewis’ 2013 ad “The Bear and the Hare” crowned number one.  

Christmas advertising is a staple of the holiday season, with many brands vying to create the most effective and memorable ad possible. They are an effective marketing tool and have become increasingly elaborate over the years in response to the buzz they generate. 

QR code generator and marketing experts at QRFY.com analysed the total number of YouTube views and, where applicable, the total number of Spotify plays, before calculating an average number of hits across both platforms to measure their total impact.  

Taking the top spot was British department store John Lewis’ 2013 ad “The Bear and the Hare” which amassed an average of 192,000,000 hits across both platforms.  

The adorable animation depicts a bear who always misses Christmas because of hibernation – until his hare friend gifts him an alarm clock – and is accompanied by Lily Allen’s cover of “Somewhere Only We Know.” 

In second place was John Lewis with the 2010 commercial “A Tribute to Givers.” The ad generated an average of 111,000,000 hits and featured a simple concept of people wrapping gifts for their loved ones to Ellie Goulding’s cover of “Your Song.” 

John Lewis also ranked third, with the 2015 advertisement “Man on the Moon” reaching an average of 56,000,000 hits for Aurora’s cover of “Half the World Away.”  

The poignant commercial portrays an old man who lives alone on the moon and has no contact with Earth until a little girl sends him a telescope for Christmas. 

In fourth was Canadian airline WestJet, with the 2013 ad “Christmas Miracle” attracting an average of 50,000,000 hits.  

The heartwarming video features real-life unsuspecting passengers who are asked what they want for Christmas before boarding their plane – only for WestJet employees to scramble the gifts together and deliver on these wishes when they land.  

Austrian bank Erste Group rounded out the top five with the 2018 ad “What Would Christmas Be Without Love?” averaging 45,000,000 hits.  

The animated ad, which features the song “Rain to Snow” by Alee Kinder, depicts a hedgehog who is socially outcast due to his hazardous spikes but is eventually gifted a solution to his problem and the friendship of all the animals. 

Coming in sixth was German grocery chain Edeka with the 2015 ad “Homecoming” set to Neele Terne’s song “Dad.” 

The emotional commercial amassed an average of 43,000,000 hits and portrays an old man who is forced to spend each Christmas alone because his family is so busy – so he hatches a plan to fake his death, which successfully reunites him with his loved ones.  

In seventh place was British supermarket Sainsbury’s 2015 ad “Mog’s Christmas Calamity” which generated an average of 42,000,000 hits.  

The ad, based on the beloved Children’s books by Judith Kerr, stars the chaotic cat setting off an unfortunate chain of events that threaten to ruin Christmas until she accidentally calls the emergency services and is deemed a hero. 

Following in eighth was John Lewis’ 2012 ad “The Journey” which reached an average of 33,000,000 hits. The video features Gabrielle Aplin’s cover of “The Power of Love” and presents a snowman’s tumultuous travels to retrieve the perfect gift for Mrs. Snowman. 

Ranking ninth was John Lewis’ 2014 advertisement “Monty the Penguin” which accumulated an average of 30,000,000 hits.  

The ad is set to Tom Odell’s cover of “Real Love” and depicts a boy’s friendship with a penguin before he is given another penguin for Christmas – and they are revealed to be stuffed toys.  

Completing the top ten was John Lewis’ 2009 advertisement “The Feeling” which included Taken by Tree's cover of "Sweet Child o' Mine" and totaled an average of 28,000,000 hits. The ad features children unwrapping Christmas gifts before it is revealed that they are adults, evoking the sentimentality of Christmas during childhood. 

A spokesperson for marketing experts QRFY.com commented: “Christmas ads have become a big part of our culture, and these ads embody everything that makes Christmas so special. The emotive music, lovable characters. heartwarming narratives, and festive visuals have become iconic and often conjure feelings of joy and nostalgia. 

“From a consumerist perspective, Christmas ads are important in driving sales and building brand loyalty as people seek gift ideas and do their Christmas shopping. Christmas ads are an incredibly effective marketing tool, and a successful Christmas ad is one that will resonate with viewers and leave a lasting impression. 

“Ultimately, Christmas ads shape our holiday traditions, influence our gift choices, and create a sense of excitement and anticipation during the festive season. The online response to these ads signals how impactful they can be, and how ingrained they are in our cultural celebrations.”