Harvey Nichols and a surprise from Kwik Fit top Realeyes ‘most engaging’ Xmas ad poll

Realeyes is a research tool which purports to measure people’s reactions to ads by tracking their facial expressions. Here’s its verdict on this year’s UK Christmas ads.

According to Realeyes Harvey Nichols and Kwik Fit (both below) produced the most engaging Christmas ads by high street retailers. John Lewis – last year’s winner with ‘Monty the Penguin’ – took seventh place with ‘Man on the Moon,’ just behind Aldi’s ‘Telescope’ spoof of it.

Just shy of 1,500 people agreed to have their faces measured via their own computer webcam. In total, the research incorporated over 11.5 million frames of facial expressions.

Harvey Nichols’ ‘Avoid Gift Face’ about a woman trying to look pleased when getting unwanted gifts and Kwik Fit’s Santa surprising children whilst getting his sleigh fixed, both scored in the all-time nine per cent of ads measured by Realeyes for emotional engagement. This is a combined measure of how well the ad grabs viewers’ attention, keeps it and leaves a lasting impression. Harvey Nichols’ ad scored better than 91.4 per cent of ads ever measured by Realeyes

Currys’ ‘Spare the Act: Secret Santa’ featuring actor Jeff Goldblum was third ahead of Mulberry’s ‘Miracle,’ a spin on a traditional nativity scene.

Harvey Nichols and Mulberry emanated from John Lewis agency adam&eveDDB, Kwik Fit from PR agency Taylor Herring and Currys from AMV BBDO.

Realeyes CEO Mihkel Jäätma says: “John Lewis remains the undisputed champion for publicity and hype but in terms of connecting emotionally with consumers, many brands outdid them this year. John Lewis’ ads have become increasingly out of this world and fantasy-based, consequently, they’re becoming harder to identify with.

“We’re seeing a move away from the kind of heavy-handed emotional approach. Harvey Nichols, Kwik Fit and Currys did brilliantly because it was about situations we’ve all been in – putting a brave face on disappointing gifts or seeing children’s reactions on meeting Santa.”

Harvey Nichols’ 2013 Christmas ad, ‘Sorry, I spent it on myself’ remains the most engaging festive ad ever according to Realeyes.

Realeyes’ methodology may or may not be accurate. What is true is that the world and his aunt (although not us) are having a pop at the poor old ‘Man on the Moon.’ A&E is no doubt already working on next year’s effort. So no pressure there then.

Full scores for most of the Christmas ads are available here, with links to the top ten.

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