Amazon’s Christmas ad is this year’s big winner as John Lewis ‘misses the mark’

New data from Kantar Millward Brown shows Amazon’s Christmas campaign is the ad most likely to result in a purchase.

While John Lewis’ Moz the Monster TV ad may have generated the most amount of headlines, Amazon’s ‘Give’ campaign featuring singing boxes is the ad most likely to persuade Brits to buy, according to a new study by brand valuation firm Kantar Millward Brown.

The study, which tested 17 of this year’s “most talked-about Christmas ads” across 12 factors including persuasion, entertainment, involvement, originality and likeability, finds Amazon is the strongest overall performer, coming top in seven areas.

For persuasion – a score based on how likely an ad will convert a viewer into a buyer – Amazon scored 3.78. It is closely followed by Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot (3.72) and Argos’s Ready For Take Off (3.47).

In comparison, John Lewis’s persuasion score comes in at a disappointing 3.07, placing it 13th on the list. Only Asda (3.04), Sainsbury’s (3.03), Waitrose (2.86) and House of Fraser (2.61) fare worse.

“John Lewis has missed the mark this year,” says Jane Bloomfield, head of marketing at Kantar Millward Brown. “The creative idea itself is what it’s fallen down on; the story just isn’t as engaging as it could be and doesn’t have a strong resolution.

“There’s nothing new and different in there, and it isn’t linked strongly to Christmas like the boxer or penguin were.”

READ MORE: Mixed reviews – Marketers react to the 2017 John Lewis Christmas ad

Aldi Christmas
The study claims Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot is this year’s most enjoyable Christmas ad

She says the reason the likes of Amazon and Argos have performed so well is because their ads combine strong storytelling with “a single, clear benefit message that isn’t hammered home, but rather woven into an engaging story. That seems to be the magic combination.”

When it comes to enjoyment Aldi (4.03), M&S (3.98) and Morrisons (3.66) make up the top three. The bottom three comprise of House of Fraser (2.94), Sainsbury’s (3.05) and Lidl (3.05).

This year’s ad from Sainsbury’s consciously avoided the blockbuster tactics of previous years for a stripped down ad focusing instead on its customers singing. However, with its persuasion score also looking pretty average (3.03), the study suggests this strategy might not have paid off.

Lidl’s Christmas campaign has topped Kantar Millward Brown’s ranking of the Christmas ads most likely to make people buy for two of the past four years. Yet this year’s campaign featuring festive personas like the ‘Cheeseboard Champion’ has struggled to stand out from the pack, with its ‘originality’ score (2.98) only better than Asda (2.95) and House of Fraser (2.84).

If a brand focuses purely on telling a great story but doesn’t have a clear purpose for the consumer, it can generate some enjoyment but little else.

Jane Bloomfield, Kantar Millward Brown

Tellingly, John Lewis scored rock bottom (2.63) for the ‘tells me new information’ measure. Therefore, Bloomfield believes not making its ‘Moz the Monster’ ad contain more of a product or service-based message will prove costly.

She adds: “If a brand focuses exclusively on telling a great story, but forgets its own role or doesn’t have a clear purpose for the consumer, it can generate some enjoyment and love but does very little else.

“Debenhams has created a very engaging story with Stranger on a Train, for example, but missed the opportunity to make the brand a part of it. You could say the same for John Lewis.”

Speaking to Marketing Week last month, TCC Global’s Bryan Roberts suggested a lot of the major retailers would struggle with their Christmas advertising this year.

He said: “We sometimes lose sight of the fact the whole point of Christmas advertising is to sell more stuff. It’s great making an Oscar-standard piece of cinema [like John Lewis] but at the same time we must remember advertising is about providing the benefits of becoming or remaining one of your customers.

“Outside of Amazon, Argos and a few of the ‘big four’ supermarkets, I’m not sure enough marketers have remembered this.”

Hide Comments3 Show Comments
  • Chris Arnold 5 Dec 2017 at 11:36 am

    Proves that TV ads still get us talking more than almost any other medium. No wonder FMCG and retailers are moving spend back into TV. And ironically, the big online brands are spending millions on TV – what does that tell you? As for John Lewis, just not really hitting the market anymore – this year or last – ads have lost there magic. Needs a fresh direction.

  • Harley Mathieson 6 Dec 2017 at 5:01 pm

    John Lewis have set themselves up over the years for advertising that receives criticism for its artistic merits rather than its effectiveness. When they stumble a bit (like this this year) the public pounce. Interesting to see what they will do – do they persevere next year and hope that their mini drama hits the mark once more or do something completely different perhaps heeding Mr Roberts’ and his ilk’s advice. (Or perhaps their sales will tell a different story.)

  • Chase Roberts 12 Dec 2017 at 6:26 pm

    “For persuasion – a score based on how likely an ad will convert a viewer into a buyer…”

    What criteria were used in these scores? What’s the scale?

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