Battle of the Christmas Ads

Everyone loves the festive period full of laughter, love and…tears?!

In the world of advertising, companies go head to head to compete for the best Christmas ad. Whether it’s John Lewis v Marks and Spencer or  Waitrose v Sainsbury’s, most of them tend to go down the ‘who can get the most tears’ route.

They love to play on their audience’s emotions – and it works. When we are celebrating Christmas and spending time with loved ones we can’t help but feel sentimental. Therefore, an advertisement with a hare and bear set to some soft, delicate music is bound to tug on the old heartstrings.

2016 is proving no different, with companies releasing high budget, elaborate adverts that bring out the soft side in everyone.

We used our emotion analysis tool to analyse over 12,000 mentions on Twitter of 4 of the top Christmas ads of 2016 to uncover the key emotions behind them.



John Lewis: #BustertheBoxer

Probably the most highly anticipated Christmas advert every year since the success of previous Christmas campaigns such as The Bear and The Hare and The Man on The Moon.  This years offering from John Lewis is more joyful than in previous years. This year’s ad centres around Buster, a boxer who just wants to bounce. The final message of the advertisement, made by Adam & Eve/DDB, is that John Lewis has gifts for everyone.

The Adorescore of the bouncing ad is 19 with the dominating emotions being ecstasy and grief. Why is the Adorescore surprisingly low for such a uplifting ad? The John Lewis ad was released around the same time as the US election result was announced, inspiring some highly skilled creators to edit the original ad to superimpose Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and the Obamas faces onto the original characters. This political spoof lead to a lot of debate online regarding Trump’s victory. Some people were also disappointed that the advert wasn’t as touching as John Lewis’ previous offerings.

Marks and Spencers: #LoveMrsClaus

Marks and Spencer’s offering has been positively received by being festive with a little bit of girl power. The story of the advertisement, made by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, sees a young brother and sister reunited by the power of a thoughtful gift, all thanks to Mrs Claus, who is promoted as the strong woman also responsible for making Christmas magical.

The festive ad has an Adorescore of 47 with the main high intensity emotions being ecstasy and admiration. The admiration was mostly driven by viewers who are happy to see Mrs Claus take centre stage and save the day.

Sainsbury’s: #ChristmasIsForSharing

Sainsbury’s have pulled out all the stops this year with a stop-motion animation extravaganza featuring the ever-popular James Corden on vocals and Bret McKenzie on piano. The central message of the ad, made by Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO, is that the best gift you can give your loved ones is your time.

The musical ad has an Adorescore of 63 with the most dominating emotion being ecstasy and admiration. This ad produced the most positive Adorescore of all of the ads analysed, with admiration and ecstasy being driven by positive reactions to the ad’s representation of “real-life” modern diversity in the UK. James Corden’s contribution also drove positive mentions online. The proportion profits from Sainsbury’s ad will benefit children at Great Ormond Street Hospital, the charitable element drove a lot of admiration to the advertisement.

Waitrose: #HomeForChristmas

The Waitrose advertisement, produced by the same agency as John Lewis’ Buster the Boxer, Adam & Eve/ DDB, also features an animal lead. This time in the form of a robin who is migrating home for Christmas but faces a few bumps and barriers along the way. Waitrose have also released a children’s book to accompany the dramatic advertisement.

Waitrose’s offering has an Adorescore of 46 with the main high intensity emotion being ecstasy. A lot of this joy was driven by Waitrose’s support of Crisis UK, a charity which supports homeless people in the UK. 50p from each sale of the ad’s accompanying children’s book will benefit the charity.

Some negativity arose from a #StopFundingHate hashtag used on Twitter to call out brands for advertising in newspapers, such as The Sun and Daily Mail, which they argue spread negative news articles about those who are less fortunate. Loathing was driven by use of this hashtag.

So to round it up…

Christmas ads emotion analysis

The reveal of the annual Christmas ads has become somewhat of an event. Everyone is curious to see what comes next. That proves the impact of these emotional advertisements and how they can massively increase brand awareness, one of the key drivers to business growth and development.

Emotion is a key tool in marketing. The ability to engage with customers on a more personal level can improve brand trust and loyalty. People who can emotionally connect with a brand view it as more approachable. The emotions which a person associates with a brand will stay with them during any future interaction. This highlights the value of emotion in marketing. Adoreboard has created a way to use analytics to gain insights into people’s emotional reactions online. These insights can help companies measure the impact of their campaigns and effectively plan out their next step. Adoreboard provides insights into how the world views and feels about your brand, specific campaigns or even your main competitors. Understanding the emotional impact of your company’s marketing messages can help you to stay ahead of your competitors and allow you to tailor the emotions associated with your brand.

Adoreboard uses world leading emotional analysis software that can help quantify how the world feels about your brand. To find out how our software can help you or to book a free demo, click here

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