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All I want for Christmas is customers—do UK retailer’s festive ads bring them in?

Amy Kelly  |  December 23, 2019

Every year in the UK, we wait with anticipation and excitement for the first Christmas advert of the year. And with each holiday season comes substantial investment for retailers, as they endeavor to win the hearts and purse strings of British consumers. But is the cost really worth it?

With the UK’s biggest shopping Saturday behind us, are the brands with the most viral Christmas ads winning the market share? To uncover whether these Christmas adverts were impacting the buying behaviour of the UK’s festive shoppers, we conducted a study with 20 men and women, living in the UK who identify as the primary household buyer. We asked each participant to watch the Christmas adverts of five top UK retailers; John Lewis, Aldi, Argos, Boots, and M&S Food

Have a look at the customer videos below and find out what they had to say about the retailers’ adverts.

Grabbing imaginations through effective product placement

The ads that contained food produce appeared to evoke a strong reaction from customers. They effectively displayed what produce was available to purchase in a compelling way which helped customers imagine what they’re Christmas dinner tables could look like. 

The Aldi Christmas ad stood out to one customer, as they were surprised the retailer had so much to offer, and, as a result, noted that they were a lot more likely to make a purchase with them after seeing the ad.

The creative placement of real products available in stores positively affected the customer’s decision to shop in those stores.

The M&S Food ad was also a favorite, with 40% of consumers stating that they’d shop with the retailer after seeing the ad. Why? Mostly because it was appetizing, but also because it evoked feelings of community and the festive spirit—something that can often get lost in the chaos of holiday shopping

Realistic Christmas situations create positive sentiment

We all have different Christmas traditions, but one of the most commonly shared pains at this time of year is shopping for the person who has everything. 

The Boots ad, labeled #GiftLikeYouGetThem, details the difficulty of buying for different personality types. It successfully lists the large variety of products available while empathising with the customer on their mission to find the perfect gift. The advert even won over one consumer who previously avoided the retailer completely, partially because the ad didn’t portray a stereotypical ‘perfect’ Chrismas as many other holiday ads do.

Just because it’s Christmas

The John Lewis ad, which was rated the most positive by participants immediately after viewing, had nothing to do with what the retailer sold. Instead, it told a story, tugged on heartstrings, and reminded us of the spirit of this special time of year. 

Perhaps it’s not always just about the mission to get the fleet of customers running to the stores, but in order to be at the center of the question on a national scale “Have you seen the John Lewis Christmas ad?” which is a seasonal conversation starter in the UK.

The long-standing and much-loved retailers of the UK ignite the Christmas spirit each year with these viral ads, and although they may not always result in a huge increase in sales, they definitely make an impact on our festive feeling. 

Thank you to all the brands who create these festive ads each year—it wouldn’t be Christmas without them!

Love Actually, via Universal Pictures

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About the author:

Amy heads up our Marketing team in Europe. When she’s not working hard on promoting our brand in EMEA, you can find her exploring Edinburgh’s culinary arts.