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UK ads break System1’s records in November


By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

December 5, 2023 | 7 min read

​System1’s Jon Evans reveals the five festive ads that topped their rating system last month and why.

morrissons' campaign

Cooking mit come to life in Morrissons' holiday spot / Credit: Morrissons

While temperatures fell in November, the Christmas ad race was heating up, with a record number of five star ads and seven reaching the maximum 5.9 star rating on System1’s scale for long-term effectiveness.

Dive into the top five festive campaigns that are highlighting the Christmas spirit and setting the perfect mood for the holiday season.

5. Morrissons: ‘Christmas Advert 2023’

Star rating: 5.9

Morrisons and Leo Burnett score the maximum 5.9 star rating with their Christmas ad focusing on an unlikely star—the humble oven glove. Animated gloves sing Starship’s "Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now" as they bring Christmas dishes from oven to table.

The simplicity and charm make it a standout, aligning Morrisons with major players like M&S and Aldi. The ad taps into two trends—exploring Christmas traditions in a quirky way and the rise of animated characters in festive ads.

4. M&S Food: ‘2023 Christmas Advert’

Star rating: 5.9

Marks and Spencer’s latest Christmas ad features the return of Dawn French as the Christmas Fairy, joined by Hollywood actors Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds, who voice adorable reindeer mittens named Left and Right.

The heartwarming ad follows the Fairy as she tries to cheer up the mittens, separated from their owner, with a mouth-watering M&S Christmas feast. It’s a great example of a brand successfully reusing their distinctive assets to enhance long-term effectiveness.

3. The Works: ‘Unwrap Real Value’

Star rating: 5.9

The Works introduces their first Christmas campaign, Unwrap Real Value, encouraging families to embrace the authentic spirit of Christmas by creating priceless moments without breaking the bank.

This heartwarming ad captures genuine and delightful reactions from children enjoying affordable toys, gifts, books, games and crafts. Amidst the cost-of-living crisis, The Works smartly positions itself as a budget-friendly shopping hub, highlighting its role to deliver real value in-store and online during holiday occasions.

2. Amazon: ‘Joy Ride’

Star rating: 5.9

Unsurprisingly, Amazon‘s ‘Joy Ride’ earns an impressive 5.9 star rating for its universally heartwarming appeal. The 60-second ad portrays three older women fondly recalling memories on a snowy hill, accompanied by The Beatles’ "In My Life." As the friends enhance their sleds with seat cushions from the retailer, laughter and cheers bring them back to the days of their youth. Amazon's global Christmas campaign, which also hit high marks in the US, challenges age stereotypes and emphasises shared joy.

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As System1 and ITV‘s Wise Up! research found, many ads that feature older people fail to authentically portray and entertain older generations, but this is a best-in-class example of how to get it right for them and the wider population.

1. Aldi: ‘Kevin and the Christmas Factory’

Star rating: 5.9

In Aldi's latest Christmas ad, Kevin the Carrot makes a joyful comeback, leading his friends through a whimsical, Wonka-esque journey in the ‘Christmas Factory.’ Clever humor and heartwarming scenes beautifully capture the essence of the season, while one of the UK’s favourite Fluent Devices delivers exceptional levels of happiness.

It’s a testament to the wear-in power of recurring characters. Kevin debuted at three stars in 2016 and has consistently improved, achieving five stars the last five years and 5.9 stars, two years in a row. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that he grabs the top spot this month.  


System1 tests ads on measures that predict long-term brand growth (star rating) and short-term sales growth (spike rating) – each between one and six stars. These measures are validated using the independent Institute of Practitioners in Advertising database and against real sales data at a category level.

Interested in seeing more creative campaigns? Check out our Ad of the Day and the Best Ads of the Week sections.

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