Different, emotional, enjoyable, attention-grabbing and able to create love for the brand – these are among the reasons that Aldi’s latest outing for Kevin the Carrot has been judged the UK’s most powerful ad of Christmas 2019.

That assessment comes from research by Kantar, based on tests of 19 ads with almost 3,000 consumers using its proprietary LinkNow ad testing service which looks at seven factors that drive short-term sales and long-term growth: enjoyment, involvement (grabs attention), expressiveness (makes us feel emotion), branding, persuasive (makes us want to buy), meaningful (creates love) and different. Facial coding from Affectiva also captured how viewers engaged emotionally with each ad.

Aldi’s ‘Amazing Christmas Show’ taps into a movie phenomenon and its much-loved soundtrack to tell another entertaining story about the retailer’s Kevin the Carrot character. Viewers rated it highest overall across the seven ‘ingredients’ that make an ad effective.

The annual John Lewis effort was found to be the most enjoyable ad of 2019. Viewers felt ‘Excitable Edgar’, a story about true friendship and inclusivity wrapped up in the excitement and magic of Christmas, celebrates the joy of Christmas more than any other spot. The ad also reinforces the retailer’s message that it’s a place where people can find the perfect gift.

Read more from Kantar on the long-term trends around Christmas advertising in the December issue of Admap, available next week.

The ad that generates most love for the brand behind it is Walkers’ ‘Too Good To Share’. In addition to combining a popular song, a glamorous celebrity and a dash of good humour, it’s very consistent, building on the long-running message that its crisps are so irresistible even the nicest person will turn mean to get their hands on them.

“To create advertising that really resonates with consumers, brands must understand what we’re thinking and feeling,” said Lynne Deason, Kantar UK’s Head of Creative Excellence. “Many are making a very deliberate effort to lift our spirits this year.

Kantar research shows how Christmas ads that use stories generate far more enjoyment and emotion than those that don’t, making people pay attention to them and creating lasting memories.

However, to be effective the brand also needs to be at the centre of the ad, otherwise people struggle to remember who it is about. The ad with the strongest branding this year is Tesco’s ‘Delivering Christmas’, which integrates the brand into the drama of the ad via the Tesco van.

“For a Christmas campaign to work, the brand needs to be the hero,” Deason stressed. “Most ads take viewers on an emotional journey, but some brands throw the ‘cues’ that they’ve built up over many years out of the window in favour of creativity. It’s vital that the story is clearly linked to Christmas, and gives a starring role to the brand and what it does.”

Almost half of UK consumers (46%) love the festive TV adverts and ‘really look forward to seeing them on TV’ (45%), according to Kantar. And even though two thirds feel Christmas ads appear too early, it turns out that almost 40% of consumers start their Christmas shopping in October (with 6% having completed it by Halloween.)

Sourced from Kantar; additional content by WARC staff