Smyths, JD and Sports Direct outperform usual suspects in YouTube Xmas ads chart

John Lewis misses out on the top spot for the first time since 2016.

Smyths’ festive spot has topped YouTube’s Christmas Ads Leaderboard, with the erstwhile chart-topper John Lewis & Partners dropping to a meagre fifth place.

Created by McCann Manchester and set to the tune of Beyonce’s If I Were a Boy, “If you were a toy, what would you be” follows a young child as he ponders what his life would be like if he were made of plastic.

Calamity ensues as the wider world also turns into toys, with appearances from Mario and The Mandalorian’s Baby Yoda.

JD Sports bagged second spot with in-house ad “#JDWonderland”, which features a plethora of celebrities including Anthony Joshua, Rita Ora, Michael Dapaah and Maya Jama.

It is followed by Aldi’s E.T.-inspired spot in third place, making the home of Kevin the Carrot the highest-ranked supermarket on the list.

Then comes Sports Direct’s “Sports starts here”, which includes a cameo from Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson.

YouTube’s Ads Leaderboard is a measure of the most "engaging" ads on the platform, and is determined by an algorithm that factors in watch time, organic views and audience retention.

Despite John Lewis & Partners topping YouTube’s festive leaderboard for the past three years, the brand's effort this year, “Give a little love” (alongside sister brand Waitrose & Partners) ranked fifth.

It was followed by Argos’ “An evening with AbracaDaisy & the incredible Lucy” and the winner of this year’s Unruly Christmas ranking, Disney’s “From our family to yours”.

Walkers landed eighth spot, followed by Sainsbury’s “Gravy song” and M&S Food’s festive ad featuring Academy Award-winner Olivia Colman.

Last year “Excitable Edgar” outperformed Sainsbury’s “Nicholas the sweep” to become the UK’s favourite festive ad of 2019.

Start Your Free 30-Day Free Trial

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free