Aldi’s Christmas ad featuring its festive brand mascot Kevin the Carrot and villain Russell Sprout has been crowned this year’s most effective Christmas marketing campaign.
Aldi’s was among the top performing ad in six out of eight key measures, with its closest rivals only managing to be among the top performers on four, according to data from Kantar shared exclusively with Marketing Week. The campaign scored particularly highly on emotional impact and whether people enjoyed the ad – coming in the top 10% of all ads on Kantar’s database (not just Christmas ads), as well as driving long-term brand growth.
“Holistically, Aldi ticked all the boxes,” says Kantar’s managing director of creative at its insights division, Rachel Evans.
To produce the ranking, Kantar asked almost 3,000 consumers what they thought about this year’s crop of Christmas ads. It bases this on eight key measures to determine if an ad will motivate people to buy in the short-term and contribute to the brand’s long-term success.
The key measures are:
- Is the ad enjoyable?
- How emotional does it make people?
- Does it grab people’s attention?
- Will people remember the brand?
- Will it be immediately motivating in the short-term?
- Will it create branded memories?
- Does it create warmth and love for the brand?
- Does it make the brand feel different to alternatives?
- Does it celebrate the joy of Christmas?
These are then compared to Kantar’s ad database to come up with a number between zero and 100. Those that score between zero and 29 are deemed to have performed badly, 30 to 69 are average performers, while a score above 70 is seen as a top performance.
Measuring the effectiveness of Christmas ads
There are many ways to cut the data to get a sense of which brands have performed best. On whether people enjoyed the ad and whether it makes them feel emotional, John Lewis and Waitrose’s story of Edgar the Dragon came out on top scoring 96 and 100 respectively. That puts them in the top 4% of all ads on these measures, which are key to creating branded memories and, therefore, long-term brand building.
The strategy behind John Lewis and Waitrose’s first joint Christmas ad
However, John Lewis falls down on whether people will remember the brand, scoring just 29, as well as whether it will drive short-term behaviour and sales.
It is M&S Food and Tesco that perform best in terms of remembering the brand – scoring 92 and 95. This therefore means both brands do well on creating branded memories, both top scoring.
M&S Food also comes out on top in terms of short-term sales likelihood with a score of 62, although no brand outperforms here. This is partly because the majority of Christmas ads are trying to build brands, rather than push product, with that left to other activity not the main ad.
“Christmas ads tend to focus less on product messaging; they are less likely to feature something you immediately want to go and buy,” says Kantar’s head of creative excellence Lynne Deason. “Instead, they tend to build and effect longer term perceptions of brands.”
Walkers is another top performer with its ad starring Mariah Carey, scoring in the top range for metrics including if the ad is enjoyable, grabs attention, is well branded and celebrates Christmas. Amazon too does well, scoring in the top range on enjoyability, making people feel emotional, differentiation and celebrating Christmas.
Aldi, Walkers and Amazon are the only three to score above 70 in terms of long-term return potential, although John Lewis and Waitrose are only just behind on 69.
Where brands went wrong
While some campaigns have clearly captured the zeitgeist this year, others have performed less well, according to Kantar. Iceland came top of last year’s rankings, but its campaign featuring characters from the film Frozen has failed to resonate this year, in part because the film overshadows the brand.
Asda too has fallen short because while people enjoyed the ad, said it made them feel emotional and was felt to be quite Christmassy, it failed to make it clear it was for Asda. This is an area where M&S’s clothing and home ad struggled as well, as did Boots and Debenhams, while for Lidl the issue was around emotional engagement.
“The Asda ad does well at conveying Christmas joy – it’s enjoyable, it evokes emotion – but there is little about it to tell you which brand it is for. Whereas Tesco, which is best branded, you can’t describe that ad without talking about Tesco as part of it. It still has that same Christmassy feel but the brand is a key part of the story,” explains Evans.
“Amazon, which has kept the same branding device consistently over the years, by association people see the singing boxes and think Amazon.”