In Uncertain Times, Nostalgia Just Won Christmas

No politics here today from a blog that respects the tradition of no reference to polls or early indications of how voting is going on an Election Day. The BBC's political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, might want to take note.

Instead, we have what many will believe is the really important result of December -- who got the most social media engagement from their Christmas tv ad this December.

The martech business, 4C Insights, has been weighing up the evidence, and we have a winner. Spoiler alert -- it's not John Lewis. Instead, we have a relative newcomer to Christmas kudos.

In the top spot we have Tesco and its "Back To The Future" campaign, in which a van driver goes back through history delivering the supermarket's food and drink to street urchins and famous people throughout the ages.

The research figures are in and social engagement, in the five minutes after the supermarket's ad has run, shoots up by an average of 146%. Rival supermarket Morrison's and its "food porn" ad has also been shooting up engagement by a huge score of 137%. 

The two have bragging rights this year over John Lewis, the retail brand most closely associated with Christmas advertising. Its dragon-inspired ad is obviously proving popular, however, with a social media uplift of 122% putting it in third place.

The researchers are summing up the top ten this year as dong well by tapping into nostalgia. Whether it's the time travel of Tesco, a dragon fairy tale for John Lewis or Iceland tapping into the popular of "Frozen 2," the biggest hitters this year are making us all think of time gone by, whether that is Dickensian London or the first time we realise that "Let It Go" would be an earworm for life.

The research has also looked at positive uplift, and not just engagement on its own, and the winner here is Lidl with its usual poking fun at the prices charged by rival supermarkets for what is claims are very similar products. After its spots, positive sentiment raised 78%. Morrison's was just behind on this metric, with 74% positive uplift and Coca-Cola's "Holidays Are Coming" is in third with a 73% rise in positive sentiment. 

I don't think it's a stretch, then, to say that it's the Christmas where food and drink have caught the imagination, particularly when combined with a dash of nostalgia. 

Maybe there is an element that food and drink can get us all talking because we all need to buy food and drink at Christmas but a particular toy or gadget won't be on everyone's list so may not form a part of our social conversations.

There could also be an element that at a time of great uncertainty we are craving comfort food and to be reminded of the past.

It definitely seems that tales of the past and feeding family and friends have come out on top this year. It seems a world away from last year when we were all talking about Iceland and its banned Orangutan video.

Clearly, this festive season is more about the Christmas past and present than activism which, presumably, people can express in political discussion when not planning what to buy for their big spread on the main day. 

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