System1 ranks early Christmas ad winners

System1 ranks ads by a consumer survey using what it calls a Spike Rating (stars) predicting short term sales impact. Here are its top six Christmas efforts so far. With commentary from chief customer officer Jon Evans.

Top 6

Aldi – “Kevin and the Christmas Factory ” (5.9-Stars)
M&S Food – “2023 Christmas Advert” (5.9-Stars)
Sainsbury’s – “This Christmas, one little girl asks one BIG question” (5.7-Stars)
Vodafone “Feel the Connection this Christmas” (5.6-Stars)
Coca Cola – “The World Needs More Santas (5.3-Stars)
Boots – “Give Joy” (5.3-Stars)

Aldi: “Aldi and Kevin regain the top spot with a maximum 5.9-Star score, making it an unbelievable 5 years in a row the plucky carrot has hit 5-Stars. This one’s a storytelling masterclass, with Aldi somehow fitting the entire plot of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory into a 90-second ad, and including a couple of audience-pleasing cheeky jokes. It ends on an upbeat, generous note thanks to the brand’s tie in with Neighbourly, putting it to the top of the list so far.”

M&S Food: “Like Kevin the Carrot, M&S Food have given audiences a couple of years to get used to their brand character the M&S Fairy. And now that the Dawn-French voiced Fairy is a hit, she’s able to drive the brand to their first ever maximum 5.9-Star score. For once the emphasis is on storytelling, with new characters Left and Right Mitten, and the ‘food porn’ the brand does so well is saved to the end. In effectiveness terms, that’s the right choice this year.”

Sainsbury’s: “An excellent use of storytelling tension from Sainsbury’s – is the little girl going to ask the Santa question? Fortunately not – it’s all about what he has for dinner. This is an ad with a really clever story framing as a way to show lots of tasty food – those elements combine to bring Sainsbury’s their highest score for several years”

Vodafone: “It’s rare for a tech brand to do this well at Christmas – party hats off to Vodafone for finding a way to demonstrate a product feature and tell a lovely, feelgood story about a kid determined to catch Santa in the act. A superb combination of product and emotional impact.”

Coca-Cola: “The brand that did more than anyone to popularise the big red Santa image imagines a world where everybody could be him. It’s a wonderfully happy, high-concept ad with a brilliant retro-feel soundtrack and a ton of diversity, fitting Coke’s status as a global brand.”

Boots: “Boots have done well in recent years with ads showcasing their product range, but they go up a storytelling gear here with a story of a Mum and daughter rally-driving their way to the North Pole to make sure Santa gets his gift. Like most of this year’s top ads it’s a feelgood ad with lots of traditional Christmas magic, but Boots give it a modern, action-packed twist.”

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