The Ad-vent of Christmas

The Ad-vent of Christmas

It might be 2 months until 25 December, but we take a sneak peek at which brand ads are set to create the greatest impact this Yuletide.

Ads worth waiting for

It’s no surprise that people dislike adverts. In fact they go out of their way to avoid them: in 2010, the Guardian reported that nearly 90% of people skip through the adverts on the their digital video recorder and in 2013, it was estimated that one in four web surfers blocked ads with google searches for ‘adblock’ doubling in the same year. In 2015, Spinnaker research found that teenagers also demonstrated their aversion to adverts with a willingness to pay extra for ad-free content on their mobiles. However, not all ads were made equal. Our online social listening has shown that long before children start to wait excitedly for Santa to squeeze his way down the chimney, the older kids are waiting for the Christmas ads from Coca Cola and John Lewis to announce the official start of the holiday season.

Like a good present, anticipation is key

We wanted to understand what makes Christmas adverts different and our research would suggest that, much like a good Christmas present, the enjoyment comes from a mix of expectation as well as the desire to experience something new and different. In the case of our Christmas adverts, we want something to stir the emotions, conjure up nostalgia and build anticipation for the holidays. Analysis of the most watched YouTube clips last year would suggest that for adverts to capture people’s attention, they need to have an element of awe or surprise.

Our social listening revealed that the 2014 John Lewis’ Christmas advert was the retailer’s most anticipated advert since 2009. However, to paraphrase Shakespeare, with higher expectations comes greater disappointment and although the quote was penned almost 400 years ago, it is still a truism in 2015. Although last year’s Christmas ad for John Lewis scored 90% positive conversation, it elicited the fewest conversations that displayed the emotion of joy. This was in stark contrast to the retailer’s ‘Gifts You Can’t Wait to Give’ campaign of 2011 which had the highest.

Brands on our watch-list this winter

Online conversation around Christmas adverts has already started to escalate showing an upward trend since the start of the new school year back in September and it is no surprise that John Lewis is the most discussed in the context of this topic. An online petition has even been launched for the Manic Street Preachers to record the Christmas track for the retailer. If online conversation is any indicator of which brands will be popular this Christmas, then Spinnaker predicts, Sainsburys, Coca-Cola, and M&S (alongside John Lewis of course) to get people feeling festive this winter.

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Alexandra Curley

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