Supermarket elves and solidarity: UK consumers’ top Christmas ads of 2022
Amid turbulent times, nostalgia seems to be a redeeming factor among the top-rated Christmas ads this holiday season. Florence Staples of research agency Opinium investigates.
Lidl lifts spirits this year with its Lidl bear ad / 'The Story of Lidl Bear'
The Christmas countdown is on. In the challenge to find the right tone with the public, who will make it to the top of the advertising effectiveness tree? The Opinium AdVantage team took a look at which ads went down best with the public based on a survey of 6,000 UK adults.
The best way to spread Christmas cheer is…
Hitting the right notes across the board this year is Asda: it took the top spot overall, was number one for humor, and was this year’s most viral ad. There are classic Christmas films that we choose to watch year-on-year, and Asda have played on this with the surprise appearance of Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf.
The well-loved favorite Christmas character provides huge enjoyment and attention scores. As Buddy enthusiastically helps Asda staff members in the run-up to Christmas, we see the strongest brand linkage out of all Christmas ads. Asda have found the perfect mix of the Christmas feel-good factor while not distracting from the brand itself, getting the tone just right.
A winning combination
Up next is Cadbury with their ‘Secret Santa Postal Service’, bringing the public together through sharing chocolate. This message of social harmony and generosity scores high on understanding. At a time of economic uncertainty, the gesture of sending a small token to a loved one gets the tone right. And the instantly-recognizable purple post boxes keep the brand linkage score high. This is one of the key reasons we see Cadbury consistently among the top performers year after year.
Lindor, another chocolate brand, comes in fifth overall but tops the consideration charts this year (with Cadbury following closely behind). Chocolate and Christmas have always gone hand-in-hand, even when pockets are tight. The only measure that lets Lindor down is originality. It may not win awards for creative uniqueness, but it does what advertising is meant to do: drives consideration.
Battle of the bear and carrot
Taking the third spot overall this year is Lidl, with the introduction of a new brand character, ‘Lidl Bear’. The advert shows a dad mistakenly shrinking his Lidl jumper, before having the bright idea of giving it to the bear. With this, the tiny, expressionless bear finds unlikely fame, becoming the face of Lidl’s Christmas campaign. The family setting and bear evoke all the right feelings of happiness, belonging and comfort.
Speaking of famous characters, we see the return of old favorite Kevin the Carrot in Aldi’s ad, coming in at 8th place. Although creatively the ad does very well, it’s the lack of brand linkage that lets the advert down. Given the character's heritage and past success, it's surprising to see a weak performance in this area. It seems that the public’s love for Kevin has become detached from the brand itself.
Emotional roller coasters
John Lewis comes in at number 11 this year, narrowly missing out on the top 10. Showing a man learning to skateboard to bond with a young girl he's fostering over Christmas, the ad scores highly for instinctive engagement and emotional reaction, but the weak spot in the ad for viewers was knowing who the ad was for.
On similar social lines was ‘Brave Face’ from Shelter, doing emotive storytelling so well that the unexpected star of the show comes in at number one on the emotional reaction chart, and ninth in the overall rankings. The campaign follows a young boy practicing his brave face smile when times are tough, showing the harsh reality of what many children face over the Christmas period. The ad evokes sadness and fear, but also hope. It was second in social shareability, showing the effectiveness of the ad, hitting the public hard.
Despite being a tonally tricky year, there's a strong element of solidarity among the top performers. Humor and nostalgia have topped the tree in the end, in the form of Asda's Buddy the Elf nostalgia trip.
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