A week in Christmas ads: Greenpeace is roasted as Coca-Cola’s jingle hits the spot

Coca-Cola’s Christmas ad has been unofficially kick-starting the festive season since 1995

The past seven days have seen ads from M&S, Homebase and Coca-Cola light up screens across the UK as people get ready to crack open their advent calendars.

In the lead up to the big day, The Drum will be crunching the numbers to reveal which newly unveiled seasonal spots have resonated most with audiences each week.

A convoy of glittering red trucks, an excitable child and snow-dusted hills – Coca-Cola’s Christmas ad has been unofficially kick-starting the festive season since 1995. It’s 2019 version has topped the Christmas ad rankings this week, despite a slight change to the familiar ‘Holidays Are Coming’ jingle that has left some viewers frustrated.

The fizzy drinks giant was competing against new releases from M&S, Boden, Greenpeace and Homebase.

As each piece of seasonal creative rolls out, market research firm System1 is gauging viewers’ emotional responses to campaigns, as well as testing how quickly and strongly they recognise which brand an ad is promoting.

Audiences were asked to determine how they felt about an ad and how powerful that emotion was by giving it an IPA-verified ‘star rating’, with System1 saying this indicates long-term growth potential. Short-term sales growth is predicted via a ‘spike rating’ which takes into consideration how quickly and strongly people identify which brand a video is promoting. 5.9 is the top score in the star category, while a spike score over 1.2 is considered high.

Coca-Cola triumphed with one of the highest spike scores of the year so far, clocking in at 1.7. It’s star score was 5.2, showing its tried-and-tested formula to be driving long-term effectiveness as well as short-term sales.

“The Coke ad has scored five stars almost every year we’ve measured it, which underlines something most CMOs forget: when you’re getting bored of a campaign, that’s exactly when ordinary people are starting to tune in,” said Jon Evans, chief marketing officer at System1.

“Sticking with the same creative year on year has turned a good ad into a tradition. We’ve seen it with Kevin the Carrot for Aldi too - it’s not wear-out brands need to watch for, it’s wear-in.”

Greenpeace’s Christmas lunch roast between a turkey and some potatoes, designed to drive consideration of veggie Christmas lunches, has performed the worst this week in terms of driving brand awareness. The alternative spot didn’t strike the right note with viewers, who awarded it a star rating of just one and a spike rating of 1.19.

Scroll down to see who made it into the top five.

1. Coca-Cola: ‘Holidays Are Coming 2019’

The 2019 version of Coke’s ‘Holidays Are Coming’ ad got an excellent 5.2 stars. It regularly gets a 5-Star rating and shows no signs of wear-out after almost 25 years (the reverse, if anything). Its 1.77 spike score is also high.

The spot is part of the brand’s biggest ever Christmas push, which has seen it pump record media spend into a global campaign.

2. Drew & Cole: ‘A Taste Of Christmas’

Cookware brand Drew & Cole managed a 4.5-Star score. Its festive effort featured food, and lots of it. Mouthwatering dishes are a fine emotional shortcut at Christmas, according to System 1.

Though it scored a star ranking of 4.5, its spike score was low at 1.08 – suggesting viewers are more connected with their stomachs than the brand.

3. M&S Clothing: ‘Go Pyjamas’

Although M&S’ flagship ‘Go Jumpers’ campaign (which featured a dance routing paying homage to the humble woolly jumper) only received a 3.2 star rating from customers, it’s pyjama party follow up has clocked up a score of 4.5.

The brand can hope for a strong sales uplift with a spike score of 1.57 too. So pyjamas aren’t just cosier, they’re also more entertaining – it seems.

4. Boden: ‘Party For Every Body’

Boden has been celebrating the NHS staff working on the frontline this Christmas as part of its ongoing ‘Wear The Joy, Share The Joy’ campaign.

The fashion brand has created an online film showing how it surprised a group of doctors, nurses and hospital with a festive makeover and party in reward for the work they do year-round.

With 4.1 stars and a spike score of 1.61, the pseudo-documentary style spot’s likeable cast look set to help Boden drive both brand affinity and sales.

5. Homebase: ‘Let The Festivities Begin’

Finally, a 3.2 star ad for Homebase, with a witty but slightly mean-spirited ad about one mum’s decorations dilemma. The brand likely lowered its star rating by subverting the expected happy ending. Spike was a bit low too, at 1.04

Next week, The Drum will be ranking the best and worst-performing ads of the Christmas season so far.

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