Which of 2017’s Christmas ads is the most effective?

They are strangely one of the most anticipated elements of the season but which of TV’s Christmas ads is the most effective for 2017?

There are plenty to choose from this year as the UK’s largest retailers up their game to out-perform John Lewis, which has dominated in recent years.

It’s fair to say that John Lewis has not won the nation’s hearts – or rather eyes and minds – this year.

Without doubt the most anticipated, Moz the Monster has been overshadowed by Argos, M&S and even Aldi for the nation’s favourite festive adverts.

According to a report from global ad research firm Kantar Millward Brown, the most effective Christmas ad of 2017 is Amazon’s “Give”.  That’s because consumers found it to be ‘different’ from the others – helping it to cut through the ‘noise’ – and it clearly reflected the brand and gave relevant and believable information.

Other strong performers include Argos “Ready to Take Off” which also scores for being different and for involving the consumer with the story.

“The two most impactful ads, from Amazon and Argos, have strong visual cues, strong creativity and good storytelling with a clear benefit for the consumer,” says Jane Bloomfield, Head of UK Marketing at Kantar Millward Brown.

“Instead of hammering their message home, they weave brand messages into a story that is genuinely involving and enjoyable. Ads that engage emotionally perform better than those that deliver an explicit message; the best of this year’s crop managed both,” she adds.

That is one of the key elements of content marketing fed by blogging, podcasting or video, which can use a more subtle approach to engaging your target audience – while ensuring that you still drive sales.

“If a brand focuses exclusively on telling a great story, but forgets its own role or doesn’t have a clear purpose for the consumer, it can generate some enjoyment and love but does very little else,” warns Bloomfield.

As the New Year approaches, it’s worth considering how you can share your brand story with new and existing customers, ready to begin your content creation for the year ahead.

Back to the Christmas ads and M&S brought us Paddington Bear and has been one of the most talked about this year while Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot outranks peers as the most enjoyable overall.

Analysis of the ads tested by Kantar Millward Brown has highlighted three vital elements for developing Christmas creative that stands out and engages consumers and, ultimately, drives sales and builds loyalty:

  1. Work with the brain, not against it: Ads that engage people creatively and emotionally work better than those that deliver an explicit message, which viewers tend to filter out. Working the way people’s brains do also means restricting the number of key messages delivered. Analysis of more than 1,000 ads, separate from the Christmas ads, found that where a single message is included, typically 30% will take out that key message; whereas when a campaign has three messages typically only 14% will take out the first key message.
  2. Good storytelling leaves an impression: Stories are a key strategy for engaging consumers with the real-life power of a brand. Yet too few brands incorporate them and where there is a story, more than half of ads still include explicit product or service messages. Brands need to be bold and cast off the shackles of product messaging to focus on big emotional stories that consumers are proven to be more receptive to.
  3. No brand means no impression: Even emotionally engaging ads need branding, particularly in digital where skippable formats give just seconds to make an impact. Kantar Millward Brown data over the last 25 years finds that ads with high branding typically deliver strong sales effects – 68% deliver a short-term sales uplift compared to those with low branding where 53% deliver a short-term sales uplift.