How are Christmas TV ads from retailers triggering our emotions?

Yep, it’s that time of year again, that time when in true festive style we all become a little child-like, eagerly awaiting this year’s fresh batch of Christmas ads to see what beauties lie in store for us. You know it’s true don’t you? These Christmas themed ads give us a warm, cosy feeling inside, making us feel a whole range of different emotions right across the spectrum… happiness, nostalgia, thankfulness, warmth, protective, loving… the list goes on.

However, despite watching and experiencing some of the above mentioned emotions, the question that we never stop to consider is simply, why do we react in this way? What, precisely, is it that makes us feel the way we feel when watching these ads, and what is it that makes us want to watch Christmas ads, when we quickly skip over any other type of ads because we simply don’t engage with emotionally?

Well, these are the very questions which Adoreboard can now address, using a completely new and scientific approach. An innovative platform which measures how the world feels about a particular brand.

Adoreboard uses text analysis algorithms – calculated from 60,000+ news sources and over 2m online articles – to scientifically determine if a brand is quite literally being Adored or Floored at any given point in time.

Scoring, calculated on the algorithms referred to above, is on a scale of minus 100 to plus 100, so the higher the score, the more the content is being adored….and vice versa! The Adorescore is the world’s first real time brand metric.

Leading brands – How do we react emotionally to their advertising?

So, what better time than Christmas to highlight the science of emotional responses, in the context of the advertising and branding messages of the 5 largest UK consumer brands? Of course, we are not just interested in the ad delivery or production values; what we are specifically examining is the response of the audience to these ads, in the context of the different emotions that they arouse

John Lewis

John Lewis has once again delivered a masterful, heart arming ad, focusing on the wonder of a child’s imagination at Christmas….a beautiful love story heightened by the beautiful Real Love mood sound track.

Adorescore 53, with serenity being the top emotion expressed.


Tescos, no doubt in a battle to win over the many lost or lapsed hearts and minds, opted for a more fun, silly Dad type theme which was clearly designed to reinforce the importance of family and family fun at Christmas time.

Adorescore 47 with a top emotion of interest.

Marks & Spencers

Marks & Spencer adopted a slightly more sassy fairies concept, where the product was very much in focus. As all good fairies do, the magic powers of the Marks and Spencer fairies is such that they can turn any old clothes into…well, beautiful Marks and Spencer clothes. M&S clearly took a more commercial slant to their Christmas campaign, though this is thinly disguised through the use of crisp white Christmas visuals! (A bit of snow and rooftop glistening always helps!).

Adorescore 59, where pensiveness emerged as the top emotion expressed.


And finally, Asda. This ad is very much family focused and uses a typical Christmas family scene, complete with wonderful food and festive treats, to help sell the Asda brand. Again, this ad is very much product focused and practical.

Adorescore of 60, where acceptance was deemed the predominant and principal emotion.

Dr Gary McKeown from the School of Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast is an expert in communication and emotions. He has his own take on what the top retailers are aiming for – Emotional Curiosity

We want to be seen to be astute mind-readers; we want others to know that we have a good understanding of what makes them tick. This is especially true at an emotional level. These goals drive an “emotional curiosity” that makes us very interested in things that have an emotional impact. Anything that impacts us in an emotional way will similarly impact others; when these are novel, tasteful, current, and likely to be seen by many people you have a combination of interest that is hard for people to resist. Add in an opportunity to evaluate, judge, and discuss and these adverts present a strong attention grabbing mechanism feeding our emotional curiosity.

In these adverts the supermarkets have created an emotional gladiatorial spectacle that sends a lot of attention their way. This spectacle signals the starting pistol for the seasonal sentimental frenzy that gets us through the winter’.

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