Business Technology

The 10 most engaging 2015 Christmas adverts from British retailers

5 min read

15 December 2015

Former deputy editor

The ten most engaging Christmas ads from the country's high street retailers have been revealed by emotion measurement platform Realeyes, which found that Brits have fallen out of love with disconnected John Lewis – despite the hype.

On the 2014 rundown, John Lewis stole the show with its Monty the Penguin advert, which achieved an emotionally compelling score of 84 per cent. That’s all changed this year, however, as the company fell to seventh place with people seemingly less impressed by its Man on the Moon effort.

Realeyes’ technology works by analysing the facial reactions of viewers via webcam to determine how engaged consumers are when observing content, based on four metrics – attraction, retention, engagement and impact.

For its Christmas study, the Oxford University-founded company screened 30 festive ads from top brands to 1,500 Brits, resulting in more than 11.5m frames of facial expressions.

Climbing from second place in 2014 to the number one spot in 2015 was Harvey Nichols and its Avoid Gift Face ad, followed by Kwik Fit in second place and Currys in third.

According to Realeyes, both Harvey Nichols and Kwik-Fit secured places in the all-time top nine per cent of ads it has measured for emotional engagement – a combined analysis of how well the ad does to grab the attention of, and leave an impact on, the viewer.

“John Lewis remains the undisputed champion for publicity and hype but in terms of connecting emotionally with consumers, many brands outdid them this year,” said Realeyes’ CEO Mihkel Jäätma.

“John Lewis’ ads have become increasingly out of this world and fantasy-based, consequently, they’re becoming harder to identify with. We’re seeing a move away from the kind of heavy-handed emotional approach. Harvey Nichols, Kwik Fit and Currys did brilliantly because it was about situations we’ve all been in – putting a brave face on disappointing gifts or seeing children’s reactions on meeting Santa.”

The report also revealed that Harvey Nichols was the only Christmas ad this year to achieve a 10/10 score on the four emotional engagement metrics.

Additionally, the department store business also possesses the title of the most engaging Christmas ad to date for its 2013 advert, which ranks in the top three per cent of all ads measured by Realeyes.

The top ten most compelling Christmas ads are:

1. Harvey Nichols – Avoid Gift Face, which scored 91.4 per cent better than all ads measured by Realeyes

2. Kwik Fit – Santa Surprise, which scored 90.7 per cent better than all ads measured by Realeyes

3. Currys – Santa Surprise, which scored 88.6 per cent better than all ads measured by Realeyes

Continue reading on the next page to find out which other companies outpaced John Lewis

Jäätma added: “The barometer of a successful ad shouldn’t just be whether people like and share it, but also whether it actually makes them spend money – ads that connect emotionally with people are more likely to make this happen.

“The four key tips to doing so are to hook the audience early, retain their attention, invoke a reaction – the stronger the better – and finish with impact. Humour was a big tool this year, all the top 10, except John Lewis and M&S, used it to connect with viewers.”

4. Designer fashion brand Mulberry achieved a score of 87.9 per cent better than all ads measured by Realeyes with Miracle

5. Terry the Turkey resulted in the fifth place for Vodafone, with 84.4 per cent

Read more on Christmas marketing campaigns:

6. Interestingly, discount supermarket Aldi’s Christmas campaign entitled Telescope is a spoof of John Lewis’ Man on the Moon and it still managed to score higher than the real thing with 80.8 per cent

7. Despite a great amount of buzz when it launched, John Lewis’ Man on the Moon has a score of 79.9 per cent

Continue reading on the next page to find out which three companies completed the top ten

8. The Body Shop follows on from John Lewis and the pair tied on a 79.9 per cent better than all ads score. However, the four metrics were skewed slightly as John Lewis achieved one point higher for attraction than the Body Shop and its Jingle Bells effort.

9. McDonald’s Journey to Christmas scored 75.8 per cent

10. Taste of Christmas by M&S Food scored 73.3 per cent