Black Friday isn’t really a thing in the UK, but Christmas most certainly is. A large number of brands in the United Kingdom create Christmas video ads each year and I thought that those of us on the other side of the pond might enjoy watching.

Reviewing this short list reminds me that British brands embrace the spirit of Christmas in emotional ways that American brands seem to have forgotten in our rush to get through Thanksgiving as quickly as possible so we can do some serious shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. So, instead of leaning forward, lean back and look at the best British Christmas video ads for 2016.

Best British Christmas Video Ads 2016

#1 John Lewis – #BusterTheBoxer

bustertheboxer-john-lewis-christmas-adI’ve already taken a deep dive into the John Lewis Christmas Advert for 2016. It tells the story of a little girl called Bridget, who loves to bounce on her bed. When her dad and mom buy her a trampoline for Christmas, they soon discover that her dog Buster, a boxer, has suddenly developed a passion for bouncing, too.

It got 16.7 million views in its first 7 days, making it the most watched Christmas advert on YouTube over the past 30 days.

#2 Sainsburys – The Greatest Gift 

In second place with 6.8 million views in 7 days, is “Sainsbury’s – The Greatest Gift.” The second largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom presents a joyous Christmas musical, which was created in stop-frame animation and features the vocals by late night chat show king James Corden. It tells the story of a hard-working and devoted dad named Dave, who realizes that the greatest gift that he can give to his family, friends, and colleagues this Christmas is his time.

#3 Marks and Spencer – Christmas with Love from Mrs Claus

In third place with 4.2 million views in 7 days is “M&S 2016 Christmas Ad: Christmas with love from Mrs. Claus.” Marks and Spencer has launched its annual Christmas advert on TV and online with a modern twist on the much-loved character Mrs. Claus – and this new Christmas icon debuts with style.

#4 Waitrose – #HomeForChristmas

And even though it only generated 2.6M views in 7 days, an honorable mention goes to “Waitrose #HomeForChristmas.” It tells the story of a courageous robin, who undertakes an epic journey home to Great Britain, where a young girl eagerly awaits his annual return.

I choose the first 4 videos based on views, but if we look at engagement rate over the first seven days, we see an entirely different picture.  We are using Tubular Video Ratings which is a benchmark designed to enable brands and influencers everywhere to rate their video content against competitors, categories, and peers to see how they stack up in terms of views and engagement. The ER7 metric measures a video or publisher’s engagement rate benchmarked across all content (e.g. 2.2x more engaging than average)

#5 Argos – Christmas Yetis  

In first place with an ER7 of 5.4x is “The Argos Christmas Yetis” Featuring five fun, furry and fast yetis, this Christmas ad promotes the British catalogue retailer’s Fast Track Same Day delivery and in-store collection. Since the products in their colorful winter wonderland include Beats, Star Wars, and GoPro, American shoppers would feel right at home.

#6 Tesco – Bring It On

In second place with an ER7 of 4.8x is “Tesco | Bring It On.” According to the British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer, “It’s never too early for mince pies…” I know that mince pies aren’t a big tradition over here, but even American women will be able to relate to their British counterpart, who has already started planning and preparing for Christmas. As she says, “Christmas. Bring it on.”

#7 eBay UK – Survive the Disco

In third place with an ER7 of 4.6 x is “eBay Christmas Advert 2016: Survive the Disco.” Okay, so some might argue that eBay is an American brand, but you’ve got to admit that whoever these Yanks hired to create ads for them in merry old England know what it takes to #SurviveTheDisco.

#8 Barbour – The Snowman and Snowdog

And even though it only has an ER7 of #3.2x, an honorable mention goes to “The Snowman and The Snowdog – Barbour Christmas.” This year, the Snowman and the Snowdog are taking a trip down memory lane, as they prepare to celebrate a traditional #BarbourChristmas.

It’s worth noting that the Marks & Spenser Christmas ad has an ER7 of 1.8x, while the John Lewis Christmas Advert has an ER7 of 1.4x, the Waitrose Christmas ad has an ER7 of 1.1x, and the Sainsbury’s Christmas Advert has an ER7 of 0.7x. And the Argos Christmas advert has a V7 of 1.3 million views, while the eBay Christmas advert has a V7 of only 13,300 views, the Tesco Christmas advert has a V7 of only 8,500 views, and the Barbour Christmas ad has a v7 of only 7,500 views.

So, you can leverage paid video advertising to put your content in front of the right audience, but you need to create great content in order to get an above average engagement rate from that target audience. And the opposite is true, too. You need to create great content, but you also need to promote your content. And that’s true on both sides of the pond. Merry Christmas and happy holidays.