Charlie Brown vs. Will Ferrell's Buddy the Elf: A Social-TV Smackdown

Bluefin Labs Looks at Social Buzz Surrounding Holiday TV

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#HoHoHo! As part of the countdown to Christmas, Ad Age worked with our editorial partner Bluefin Labs, the Cambridge-Mass., social-TV-analytics company, to look at social-media chatter surrounding Christmas specials and beloved Christmas-themed movies that aired during the first three weeks of December. Some notes about the chart below:

  • In terms of sheer volume, the 2003 Will Ferrell comedy "Elf" wins hands-down, with more than 60,000 social-media comments total (primarily on Twitter and public Facebook updates). But that 's mainly because it's aired so often -- eight times on USA Network and twice on Syfy from Dec. 1-18. So we decided to organize the ranking of our chart by social response per airing. The big winner: "A Michael Buble Christmas," which aired just once on ABC and functioned as a sort of infomercial for the Canadian crooner's Billboard-chart-topping album "Christmas." (MTV News, in noting that he once again holds the No. 1 spot in this week's Billboard chart, reports that he sold nearly 448,000 copies of the album this past week alone.)
  • It's important to note that Buble benefited from the Bieber Bump on Twitter. Fellow Canadian Bieber (who has more than 15 million followers) tweeted merrily about the Buble special in advance because he agreed to appear on it. (Idolator's wry take: "Michael Buble & Justin Bieber: Their Bromance Is Strong On Christmas Special.") Whatever Bieber tweeteth, Beliebers retweeteth, and thus Buble blew up on Twieber -- clearly all just part of a sinister Canadian plot to take over not only social media but Christmas itself. This is an outrage! Where is Fox News when you need it?
  • Bluefin's Tom Thai notes that the No. 4 show on our chart, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," aired twice in our monitoring window -- on Monday the 5th and Thursday the 15th. The second airing garnered roughly three times (15K+) as many social-media comments as the first airing. "I guess people weren't fully in the Christmas spirit at the start of the month," says Thai. (Sample tweet: @pastortimmievol: "Watching a Charlie Brown Christmas ... Reliving my childhood. Good times, good times.")
  • Traditionalists may be pleased to learn that "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "It's a Wonderful Life" both beat "Elf" in our ranking. Then again, enough newer Christmas fare (including "Elf") made our list that poor "Frosty the Snowman" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" got entirely shut out of our Top 10.
  • Bluefin Labs' data show that the one thing the most frequently made social-media comments about "Elf" have in common is that they quote this line from the comedy: "Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?" (Here's an 18-second refresher course on that bit, courtesy of YouTube.)
Christmas TV
Christmas TV
Stay tuned to for more data from Bluefin Labs.

For more about Bluefin, visit its website. - - -

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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