Europe

The Polish Christmas advert with seven million views

A screen shot from the advert shows a Christmas-themed delivery box Image copyright Allegro
Image caption The advert includes little mention of the product

A Christmas advert for a Polish auction website has hit seven million YouTube views in 10 days, with almost a million more views on the site's Facebook page.

Allegro's mini-movie, What are you looking for at Christmas? English for beginners, is a tale of a Polish grandfather learning to speak English ahead of a holiday trip to London and has resonated with its online audience.

He begins with prepositions and pronouns, before making mistaken, out-of-place declarations on the city bus and foul-mouthed threats in the bath.

However, it makes little mention in its three-minute runtime of the product advertised - a Polish auction website - other than an opening title and the sign-off: "And you? What are you looking for?"

Ian Henderson, executive creative director at AML, a London-based brand and advertising agency, told the BBC: "The very modest branding works in its favour, the advertiser has had the grace to get out of the way of the emotion."

Image copyright Allegro
Image caption Be warned: The grandfather swears pretty heavily at a rubber duck

'The greatest feelings'

"It's beautifully made and a gorgeous little film, which helps.

"But what makes it work is the emotional authenticity - we believe it completely.

"That is surprisingly hard to do in an ad."

The website's Facebook page has fielded an overwhelmingly positive reaction in the 1,200 comments beneath the video.

Some say it is the only advertisement they have watched to the end or the only one to have made them cry, and Allegro appears to be responding to as many of the comments as possible.

"My fiance is Polish and I met my mother-in-law for the first time two months ago," says one comment. "Never cried for an ad before."

The advert elicits "the greatest feelings", says another viewer.

"So our goal was achieved," replies Allegro.

The 2,500 comments below the YouTube copy of the video, however, are also interested in the breed of dog belonging to the grandfather and the violent goading toward the rubber duck.

Image copyright Nick Jablonka
Image caption The power of the John Lewis Christmas advert has spread attention to a media student's coursework

By the numbers

Allegro is the fifth largest website in Poland, according to figures from web traffic analysis site Alexa Internet, and has previously put out an advert with more than 2.5 million views on YouTube.

However, English for beginners has outstripped the viewing numbers of its most recent commercials, What do you do every year?, with 60,000 views, and What do you do every day?, with 900,000 views.

"It's yet another demonstration that a good idea well executed creates its own media space," says Mr Henderson.

"Good, original ideas can come from anywhere, and don't need massive budgets to work - great news for creative ad agencies, less good for commercial TV channels who depend on big-budget TV campaigns."

The commercial is typical of the high production values associated with adverts at Christmas time.

H&M employed award-winning film-maker Wes Anderson for its offering this year.

It is nearly four minutes long, stars Adrien Brody and Peter Serafinowicz, and has been watched by eight million people on the clothes retailer's YouTube channel.

Meanwhile UK department store chain John Lewis now commands such anticipation for its Christmas advert it has brought attention to a homage-maker, the band whose music played in it, and the dog that starred in it.

By comparison, it has clocked up 56 million views across YouTube and Facebook in four weeks.

Produced by the BBC UGC and Social Media team