Topping a list of 13 retailers, Aldi has a score of 154 compared to John Lewis’ 142, with the study by Waggener Edstrom (WE) assessing the social media impact of each retailer’s Christmas marketing over the last four weeks.
For the Christmas index, WE has not just scored the TV ad and how it’s been perceived by UK audiences but also how the retailers are maintaining and sustaining their respective campaigns in the build up to 25 December. It achieved this by tracking dialogue from when the ads first went out and then all subsequent engagements across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, forums and news sites.
In particular, WE praised Aldi for its TV spoof of John Lewis’s ‘Man on the Moon’ advert, which compares two telescopes, one John Lewis and one Aldi and includes Jean the infamous star of Aldi’s previous ads along with the hashtag #aldifavouritethings.
“Aldi’s ‘man on the moon’ gets one over on John Lewis and also reinforces its broader marketing campaign,” says WE’s head of digital and insights Gareth Davies.
“If there’s one thing that the Aldi advert has shown us it’s that being agile and creating on-the-fly content can be a hugely successful strategy.”
Aldi is closely followed by Sainsbury’s in second place (with a score of 148) and John Lewis in third (with 142).
Social media buzz
John Lewis has generated a “substantial” 135,000 social media conversations out of the 170,000 total generated across the 13 brands, according to the study.
However, despite its considerable buzz, WE says John Lewis’ Christmas campaign has been a let down in other areas.
“Where John Lewis has failed (and Aldi succeeded) is they haven’t been able to take the story further. A large percentage of the engagement seen around the John Lewis brand, post advert launch, relates to competitions and promotions,” adds Davies.
“It feels like the John Lewis advert is such a big story and statement that the brand are now unsure with how to take this forward.”
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WE also praised Debenhams for its social media #foundit campaign, which involved taking a photo with an item you want for Christmas to be in with a chance of winning it, for creating a personal connection.
In comparison, it said, the majority of social interactions with John Lewis has been restricted to likes and retweets, meaning the campaign has “failed to add to further story with further commentary or possibility for personalised interaction”.
Whose ad is making people buy?
However, despite its supposed shortcomings in generating further engagement, John Lewis does appear to be translating buzz into purchases.
New research from global comms agency Way To Blue – which has monitored keywords and phrases across the internet relating to UK brands since the launch of all their major Christmas campaigns – has seen John Lewis record 5,986 mentions that directly reference an intent to buy off the back of the ‘Man on the Moon’ campaign.
Boots has also been successful just trailing John Lewis with its score of 5,734 mentions.
The next nearest retailer Sainsbury’s only generated 2,045 but Way To Blue admits this could easily change over the coming weeks.
“Intent-to-purchase is lower for Sainsburys even though the beloved Mog the cat has generated much higher volumes of social buzz and YouTube views,” says Jess Ainsley, project manager at Way To Blue.
“In the lead up to Christmas it will be interesting to see whether consumers’ vocalisation of their desire to purchase increases the closer we get to the main day, and people rush in store for the last minute gift sets and turkeys!”