Our own Kevin Chesters spoke to The Drum about lessons from the UK's advertising Super Bowl - Christmas.


You’ll read lots of articles today about the Superbowl ads from last night; which brands ended up as ‘MVP’ and which films ‘never made it past first down’, etc. But as I was reviewing all the adverts from the Superbowl yesterday, it just made me think all the way back to December 2017 and the UKs equivalent, Christmas. And now that we’ve started to see some proper business results come out for the gargantuan spend-fest that was Q4 2017, I thought it might be a good time to revisit them - to see which advertisers scored touchdowns and which ones ended up sacked (hopefully not literally, obv).

It is unarguable that Christmas has become the UKs Superbowl for advertisers. Despite me hearing at least once a day that advertising is dead (again), ad-spend in Q4 2017 came in at a whopping £5.9bn in the UK (Source: Nielsen). This spend was up £1.2bn (+37%) over the last five years which would suggest that, far from being dead, spend on such supposedly gasping formats as TV advertising has never been in ruder health.

And social relevance? There were over 700+ articles in Q4 alone (Source: Factivia) in the national press about Christmas adverts. This would seem to suggest that punters love to talk about the ads despite what detractors might say. So much so in fact that 47% of Britons claim to have been moved to tears by a Xmas advert in 2017 and 33% of people said that they looked forward to the Xmas adverts coming out more than the Xmas film releases. (source: Advertising Association)

It seems that the Christmas ‘blockbuster’ ad is still seen as a must for most retailers. It’s not hard when you look at recent IPA Effectiveness papers (even forgetting the clear public love for Xmas ads) to see why everyone does it. According to the 2016 IPA Effectiveness Grand Prix, 20% of sales and 40% of profit at John Lewis can now be directly attributed to their Xmas advertising.

So, who “won” Christmas, 2017? The world of research has now weighed in across every film with every conceivable methodology and every conceivable metric. I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking through their spreadsheets (I love this kind of thing). I have now read reports from Brainjuicer, Kantar Millward Brown, realeyes, 4C and TNS. There are some consistent winners from the list across all the methodologies & a couple of rather surprising absentees.


To see Kevin's picks, read the full article in The Drum.