Sainsbury’s has come out of nowhere to apparently topple John Lewis from its position as annual bearer of Christmas tidings and try to take its festive advertising crown.
Traditionally feted for creating the best Christmas ad of the year, the retailer - and viewers - have been blindsided by darkhorse Sainsbury’s which earlier this week pulled it out the bag with a WWI themed film in partnership with the Royal British Legion.
So which one’s better?
The Sainsbury’s ad has been called both a “4-minute 'f*** you' to John Lewis and Monty the penguin” and a “dangerous and disrespectful masterpiece” in the press.
Much of it comes down to opinion of course, but when it comes to eyeballs, the two brands are on an almost-level pegging when looking at YouTube views.
In roughly the first 24 hours of each ad debuting online, Sainsbury’s gained 4.03m YouTube views, while John Lewis was slightly ahead on 4.17m YouTube views.
Looking at shares of each YouTube video in the first 12 hours, Sainsbury’s inches ahead with 25,000 compared to John Lewis’s 19,600, according to social ad tracking firm Unruly.
Complicating things, though, are the different approaches taken by each brand to distributing their ads.
John Lewis also uploaded the film to Facebook (rather than sharing a YouTube video on the social network), gaining more views and shares there in addition to YouTube- 2.8m views and 156,000 shares in the first 24 hours.
In addition to the main ad, Sainsbury's also has “making of” and “story behind the ad" videos, gaining 90,000 and 163,500 views respectively, just over 24 hours after launch.
Meanwhile, a poll of readers by The Guardian sees Sainsbury’s sprint ahead with 63 per cent.
Considering the amount invested by both in their advertising budgets , the real measure of success is more likely to lie in how many people each ad can tempt through the doors of their stores.
We await both their Christmas trading updates in the new year, which will finally settle the matter.