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Value of Christmas ads questioned

News, 17 December 2015

LONDON: Consumers claim that Christmas advertising campaigns play little part in deciding what they buy, with quality and price the most important factors cited in a new survey.

When SurveyMonkey asked UK consumers about Christmas advertising campaigns, just 12% of respondents said these swayed their decisions on whether to buy a gift from a particular brand or store. 


More than eight in ten (82%) said they bought on quality while 58% cited price, The Drum reported.

Mansoor Malik, managing director UK of SurveyMonkey, observed that brand advertising certainly contributed to the festive mood. "However, we must be honest and recognise that if campaigns aren't driving sales, they're not meeting their core objective," he said.


It is quite possible, however, that campaigns will drive sales even if few consumers admit to being swayed by them; a wealth of research shows that what consumers say they do and what they actually do are often quite different.   

Mihkel Jäätma, CEO of Realeyes, added another factor: "Ads that connect emotionally with people are more likely to make [sales] happen," he explained.

Upmarket retailer John Lewis is behind one of the most talked-about – in the media at least – Christmas campaigns this year, but a Realeyes study which used webcams to measure the emotions of 1,500 participants watching Christmas ads found that its Man on the Moon ad was less engaging than a spoof by discount retailer Aldi.

Jäätma suggested that John Lewis' ads were becoming harder to identify with as they became more fantasy-based.

"We're seeing a move away from the kind of heavy-handed emotional approach," he said, highlighting the top-performing campaigns produced by retailers Harvey Nichols and Currys and car repair chain Kwik Fit.

Their ads "did brilliantly because it was about situations we've all been in – putting a brave face on disappointing gifts or seeing children's reactions on meeting Santa", he explained.

Humour was a big tool in this year's most engaging ads, he added, as eight of the top ten had used it to connect with viewers.

Data sourced from The Drum, Realeyes; additional content by Warc staff