November 14, 2018: New economic forecast data released by the Advertising Association shows businesses will spend close to six and a half billion pounds on seasonal advertising during the final quarter of this year. The competition to be the number one Christmas advertiser intensifies every year, with spend increasing 5% on the previous record amount in 2017.

Many of the UK’s biggest brands will be showcasing their seasonal best across UK media – TV, radio, print, out-of-home and social media platforms – including Amazon, Argos, Aldi, Boots, Coca Cola, Debenhams, H&M, John Lewis, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. This year’s adverts have once again included a selection of the world’s biggest music stars including Elton John and Take That so the Advertising Association has commissioned new research into consumer attitudes towards the music that features in the festive season ads.

Key findings from research include:

  • Coca Cola’s ‘Holidays are Coming’ has been voted the nation’s favourite song to feature in a Christmas advert.
  • The Snowman theme tune from the Irn Bru adverts and Lily Allen’s cover of ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ which featured in John Lewis’ 2013 advert also made the top three.
  • Almost 1 in 5 of us associate a particular song or artist with a Christmas advert and a similar number admit to searching online for Christmas adverts so they can listen to the song in it.More than 1 in 10 of us have become fans of an artist/song after discovering them in a Christmas advert.
  • Other popular songs from Christmas ads of yesteryear include Quality Street’s Magic Moments, Magical Place by Toys R Us and Tom Odell’s Real Love for John Lewis.

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive, Advertising Association, said:

“Our Christmas advertising season is the envy of the world, thanks to the brilliant, creative talent working in our industry. The joy of this advertising period, seeing what brands bring out each year, is an integral part of a great British Christmas. The advertisements we will see over the next few weeks will go on to win many of advertising’s biggest awards and this success helps our industry export our services worldwide.”

Karen Fraser, leader of advertising’s think tank, Credos said:

“Advertisers are increasing their investments in Christmas advertising year-on-year, because they know Christmas advertising works. As the UK high street faces an uncertain future, Christmas is one of the key periods for retailers. Advertising helps stores attract customers, and that helps sustain jobs and high streets in the UK. We need advertising, and we need Christmas advertising in particular.”

Work by the Advertising Association with Deloitte in its Ad Pays series has shown that every £1 spent on advertising returns more than £6 to the UK economy and the industry supporting nearly one million jobs. Additional studies have also shown each pound spent on advertising by an SME has eight times the effect on sales relative to its size than a large company.

Q4 Advertising Spend since 2010

Analysis of the advertising spend in the final quarter of 2017 revealed £6.1bn or around 28% of the total £22.1bn spent on advertising last year was invested in the run-up to Christmas.


Header image from Anton Strogonof via Flickr.