M&S’s Percy Pig brings home the bacon, after knocking Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot off his festive popularity perch in 2021
Regardless of what you think about tinsel or whether it’s scandalous to put your tree up before December 1st, there’s one thing most marketers can agree on; the festive season well and truly starts when the first Christmas TV adverts hit our screens.
From the highly anticipated John Lewis advert to the tongue-in-cheek alternatives by budget retailers, Christmas TV adverts have become a staple on our screens to mark the holiday season.
The hype Christmas ads create can be felt in offices everywhere as colleagues ask: “Have you seen the [BRAND NAME] Christmas ad yet?!”. But how does this translate online? As digital marketers, we’re always keen to see the impact campaigns have online.
So, we set about investigating Google Trends data to see which Christmas ads customers are Googling the most – and which Christmas ad characters are creating the most buzz online (SPOILER ALERT: it’s not the crunchy vegetable you think this year!).
Data has been collected on the top Christmas TV ads from the six most popular retailers over the past five years to assess which is the most Googled Christmas TV ad – and which Christmas TV ad characters are standing the test of time.
Which groceries retailer has the most Googled Christmas advert?
Which groceries retailer’s Christmas advert is the most searched-for online?
Aldi tops the charts for the most Googled Christmas TV advert over the past five years. Clearly, the budget retailer’s often playful approach to festive ads is effective in creating intrigue with its customers.
Sainsbury’s did top the charts for the most searched for advert in 2018 with their ‘The Big Night’ advert, where a small girl and her friends put on what is arguably the best school nativity ever to the delight of her beaming mum. And the retailer also topped the charts in 2020 when their Gravy Song advert triggered online criticism from customers who felt like the advert didn’t reflect diversity (the advert featured a black family and was one of three nostalgic adverts that feature different families from different backgrounds).
But despite Sainsbury’s efforts, Aldi scoops top spot with 3 out of 5 years topping the charts for the most Googled Christmas advert.
But how does Aldi stack up next to the bastion of tear-jerking, heart-wrenching, movie-making-magic Christmas adverts… John Lewis?
John Lewis Christmas ads still outperform Aldi online, according to Google data
Well… that’s no surprise there then.
Kevin the Carrot is more popular than Aldi’s Christmas advert, according to Google searches
Whilst Aldi’s Christmas advert is the most Googled Christmas advert out of the grocery retailers, it’s actually Kevin the Carrot who steals the show and causes the most intrigue with customers – with Google searches for Kevin the Carrot outperforming searches for the brand’s Christmas ad by as much as 80% over the past three years.
Kevin the Carrot beats John Lewis characters as the most Googled Christmas advert character
Customers may search for the John Lewis Christmas advert more than Aldi, but when it comes to Christmas characters – Aldi lands first place with Kevin the Carrot.
The lovable little carrot tops the charts for the most Googled Christmas character and is more popular online than some of John Lewis’ iconic Christmas creations, including Edgar the Excitable Dragon, the star of the 2019 Christmas advert who kept accidentally setting fire to things he loved.
Which is the most popular Christmas advert character: Kevin the Carrot tops the charts
Kevin the Carrot is the most Googled Christmas advert character!
The most popular Christmas advert characters over the past 5 years:
|Paddington Bear (M&S)
|Kevin the Carrot (Aldi)
|Kevin the Carrot (Aldi)
|Kevin the Carrot (Aldi)
|Percy Pig (M&S)
Watch the winning Xmas characters adverts:
2017 winner – Paddington Bear
M&S capitalised on the November release date of Paddington Bear 2 in 2017 by joining up with the fuzzy bear for their 2017 Christmas advert, beating Kevin to the top spot.
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfaSxIkLslE
2018 winner – Kevin the Carrot
2018 saw Kevin compete against an evil parsnip in a series of adventures to save his family from becoming Christmas dinner. The clever release of cliff-hanger adverts clearly worked, despite one ad being banned by the ASA after a single viewer complained that in one advert, Kevin could be interpreted to be encouraging younger viewers to drink.
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdrEKXNa09k
2019 winner – Kevin the Carrot
Aldi capitalised on the popularity of Peaky Blinders with their 2019 ad showcasing the Leafy Blinders, who were in a rivalry with Russel Sprout’s gang.
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZ6MJFbmKfQ
2020 winner – Kevin the Carrot
Amidst the throws of the pandemic, Aldi used the heart-warming theme of ‘Kevin out in the cold’ to highlight how far Kevin would go to be reunited with his family – a message that all Brits could relate to with the tightened Christmas socialising restrictions.
2021 winner – Percy Pig
Although Percy Pig is a character that customers enjoy all year round, 2021 marked the first year that the character was brought to life on our screens – resulting in Percy knocking Kevin off the top spot for the most Googled Christmas TV advert characters.
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dlem-MOMZOs
Aldi fans stay loyal to Kevin the Carrot, as Ebanana Scrooge is barely searched for online
Did Aldi make a mistake binning off Kevin the carrot?
Kevin the Carrot is still more popular than Ebanana Scrooge, according to Google searches.
With such a prolific presence online, it’s no surprise Aldi’s latest recruit can’t compete – this year, customer searches for poor Ebanana Scrooge were just a 10th of the number of searches for Kevin the Carrot, meaning that the 2016 mascot outperformed Ebanana by 89% according to Google trends.
The data also revealed whilst more news articles have been written about Ebanana than Kevin, the carrot still comes out on top with more mentions on websites in Google search results, more Twitter followers and more posts on Instagram.
Aldi customers stay loyal to Kevin The Carrot, data reveals
It’s not just through web searches where Aldi customers are expressing their preference for Kevin the Carrot – Ebanana Scrooge also falls short when it comes to number of Twitter followers (both characters have their own accounts on the platform), Twitter hashtag usages and the number of posts on Instagram with each characters hashtag – there are 3160 x more posts with the hashtag #kevinthecarrot than there are for #ebananascrooge.
Chart demonstrating online presence for each character on different platforms
|Kevin the Carrot
|Twitter hashtag uses
|Instagram hashtag uses
|Google News articles
|Total online presence score:
Percy Pig could steal Kevin the Carrot’s reign as the most popular Christmas advert character, Google trends reveals
But it’s not all good news for Aldi – Google search data shows that Percy Pig could be soon to knock Kevin off his top spot, as searches for Percy Pig overtook Kevin the Carrot this year after M&S brought Percy to life for the first time in this year’s Christmas advert.
Although Percy Pig is a character that is enjoyed by M&S customers all year round, the use of him in their 2021 Christmas advert has left its mark online – and Kevin the Carrot may need to watch his back.
The hype of Christmas TV adverts can certainly be felt online, and although John Lewis easily trumps the rest of the retailers we explored as part of our research for number of Google searches, retailers like Aldi prove that memorable characters can help bridge the gap online – and Kevin the Carrot has certainly had a long shelf-life.
But with Percy Pig now threatening the carrot’s reign, perhaps the retailer will need to go bigger next year – William the Watermelon perhaps?
No Brainer is a creative content agency specialised in Digital PR, Content Marketing and Online Storytelling. Find out how we can help build your brand’s presence online – complete the form below and let’s talk!