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By John Glenday | Reporter

December 2, 2022 | 4 min read

A dozen Christmas ads are in contention for the top of the tree this holiday season (with John Lewis nowhere to be seen) in the latest edition of seasonal marketing insights delivered by System1.

Singling out positivity, nostalgia and generosity as the winning ingredients to win over hard-pressed consumers during a cost-of-living crisis, the report shows that it is brands that embrace the feelgood factor enjoying the greatest successes this year as audiences embrace a glass-half-full mentality.

Faced with an embarrassment of advertising riches, the effectiveness specialist opted to extend its top 10 to a top 12, with Boots and Cadbury providing the stocking fillers with ‘#JoyForAll’ and ‘Secret Santa’ in 12th and 11th spot respectively.

Entering the traditional top 10, Tesco makes it into the 10th spot with ‘The Christmas Party’; closely followed by Barbour (‘One of a Kind-ness’) and Lidl (‘The Story of Lidl Bear’).

Pushing in at 7th place is Disney with ‘The Gift,’ edging out the National Lottery’s ‘A Christmas Love Story’ and ‘Holiday Film 2022’ by Lego. In 4th place, M&S made the grade with ‘Gifts that Give.’

A top three of all the As sees Aldi’s orange mascot command 3rd place with ‘#KevinTheCarrot Aldi Christmas Ad 2022,’ while Amazon makes 2nd place its own with ‘Joy is Made.’ It is retailing rival Asda, however, that is this year’s Christmas cracker, with ‘Buddy the Elf,’ starring Will Ferrell, giving people reason to cheer – earning the maximum points under System1’s 1-5 scale in the process.

Lauding this year’s clutch of Christmas contenders as the best in a decade, Jon Evans, chief customer officer at System1, said: “2022 is still going to be a tough Christmas for many, and Christmas ads won’t change that. But marketers have taken the right approach here. They’re quietly acknowledging the circumstances families are facing, but also trying their best to make ads that make people feel good, not remind them of their problems.

“It’s a sign they’ve learned from ads during the pandemic, which lost all individuality in an attempt to sound caring. As we enter a recession, it’s really important to maintain a positive presence in people’s minds so they’re more likely to choose your brand when recovery does come. The Christmas ads of 2022 understood that assignment perfectly.”

Praised for their ‘genius move’ of recruiting Buddy the Elf, Asda now faces the onerous question of whether it can capture lightning in a bottle a second time around in 2023 – or if this is a one-hit-wonder.

The 12 ads of Christmas (System1 top 12 effective ads)

  1. Asda: ‘Buddy The Elf’ (5.9 stars)

  2. Amazon: ‘Joy Is Made’ (5.9 stars)

  3. Aldi: ‘#KevinTheCarrot Aldi Christmas Ad 2022’ (5.9 stars)

  4. M&S: ‘Gifts That Give’ (5.9 stars)

  5. Lego: ‘Holiday Film 2022’ (5.8 stars)

  6. The National Lottery: ‘A Christmas Love Story’ (5.7 stars)

  7. Disney: ‘The Gift’ (5.5 stars)

  8. Lidl: ‘The Story Of Lidl Bear’ (5.4 stars)

  9. Barbour: ‘One Of A Kind-Ness’ (5.3 stars)

  10. Tesco: ‘The Christmas Party’ (5.2 stars)

  11. Cadbury: ‘Secret Santa’ (5.2 stars)

  12. Boots: ‘#JoyForAll’ (5.2 stars)

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