TV Ad Spend Weekly: Emotion reigns in retail ads this holiday season

Brands continue to invest heavily in above-the-line content, and television is still seen as the place brands want to be. Each week, in partnership with Kantar Media, The Drum looks at which brands have been investing the most on newly-launched creative on US national broadcast and cable TV.

The holiday season is in full swing and advertisers are spending big. So big in fact, that spend on new national TV placements increased by 43 percent from last week to reach $203m. As is typical for the winter holiday season, retail was the highest spending category for the week, accounting for approximately one-third of new broadcast spending.

In keeping with the trend, the National Football League (NFL) was a key destination for Apple (#1 on this weeks spend list), Macy’s (at #2) and Taco Bell (#4 this week).

With Black Friday fast approaching, retail advertisers are putting their efforts into winning over holiday shoppers during the most crucial weekend of the season. This week, three major retailers landed among the top five advertisers, each falling within a different segment of retail: Department stores, home stores and jewelry stores. Interestingly, instead of ads promoting Black Friday or “on sale” messages, the overarching theme was about striking a chord on an emotional level.

Macy’s, who has long been closely associated with Christmas because of 'Miracle on 34th Street,' was the big spender for the department store segment. In a holiday ad designed to tug at the heartstrings, a young boy gets a baseball lamp for Christmas and uses the light as Morse code to invite neighbors, who recently suffered a loss, over for Christmas dinner. It is not until the end of the spot when Macy’s makes an appearance with a shopping bag and the tagline "The perfect gift brings people together.”

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For the home store segment, HomeGoods was the leader for the week in another emotionally charged ad with the emphasis on family. The commercial shows holiday gatherings with people giving toasts and exchanging gifts. The tagline “We’re proud to bring your family amazing value everyday” is used, illustrating that HomeGoods has good deals year round, not just during the holidays. Lacking an “on sale” or Black Friday message is nothing new for HomeGoods – this is a strategy we have seen from the retailer during previous holiday seasons.

Rounding out the top five was Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, which led the way for the jewelry segment within the retail category. The ad from Jared is all about showing love for your significant other by turning feelings into jewelry. The commercial discusses customized merchandise and ends with the tag line: “The one unique gift that tells her exactly how you feel. That’s why you went to Jared.”

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This data is part of ongoing reporting released on a weekly basis with Kantar Media's using their AdScope tool.