The most popular Christmas characters over half a decade were found to be Kevin the Carrot (Aldi, 2016-present) followed by Paddington Bear (Marks & Spencer, 2017), Excitable Edgar (John Lewis, 2019), Moz the Monster (John Lewis, 2017), Ebanana Scrooge (Aldi, 2021) and Buster the Boxer (John Lewis, 2016).
The analysis was conducted by PR firm No Brainer, which looked at factors such as the number of Google searches for the characters, Google News articles about them, and mentions of their names on Twitter and Instagram.
Aldi’s animated carrot was first brought to screens for Christmas 2016; however, it wasn’t until 2018, when Kevin took on an evil parsnip in a series of cliff-hanger ads, that the carrot shot to the top of the search charts. This year's iteration features a cameo appearance by footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford.
Despite Kevin the Carrot winning the overall top spot in the five-year analysis, Percy Pig –used for the first time in a seasonal M&S ad this year – has, however, been the most-Googled Christmas advert character of 2021.
Laura Rudd, head of data insights at No Brainer, said: "Customers are obviously excited by the various storylines that Kevin the Carrot has had over the years, and this excitement translates into them searching for content about him online.
"It will be interesting to see how Kevin fairs next year, as the use of Percy Pig by M&S in its TV advert saw Google searches explode for the character and actually overtake searches for Kevin the Carrot in 2021. Aldi might need to think bigger next year if Kevin wants to reclaim his festive crown.”
Research by Talkwalker for PRWeek last month examined which retailer 'won' the Christmas campaign battle on social media.