Amazon Christmas ad is most impactful; John Lewis, Debenhams miss the mark

Amazon has beaten John Lewis and other established British brands in creating this year’s most effective Christmas advert, according to new research.


The online marketplace’s ‘Give’ advertisement scored highly with viewers in 7 out of 12 measures from Kantar Millward Brown’s annual research. It was described as ‘different’ by consumers, who also thought that the brand came through distinctly in the ad, and that they were provided with relevant and believable information.

Argos was another high performer, with viewers feeling a strong connection with the story and describing the ‘Ready for Take Off’ ad as “different, relevant and believable”. Aldi’s ‘Kevin the Carrot 2017’ ad was found to be the most loved due to its funny tone, while M&S  scored second highest on ‘enjoyment’.

Jane Bloomfield, head of UK marketing at Kantar Millward Brown, said: “The two most impactful ads, from Amazon and Argos, have strong visual cues, strong creativity and good storytelling with a clear benefit for the consumer. Instead of hammering their message home, they weave brand messages into a story that is genuinely involving and enjoyable. Ads that engage emotionally perform better than those that deliver an explicit message; the best of this year’s crop managed both. A great story can seed ideas, associations and feelings that are triggered during the purchase process, even long after the ad was last seen.”

Debenhams and John Lewis’ ads were found to be less effective, as they failed to involve the brand or present a clear story. While John Lewis’ ‘Moz the Monster’ ad generated significant level of smiles, engagement was lost towards the end, compared with M&S’s ‘Paddington’ which shows an increase in smiles as the ad goes on.

“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,” said Bloomfield.

“John Lewis’s Moz the Monster ad certainly created anticipation in the run up to its release. The music and characters are strong, and it’s immediately recognisable as ‘the John Lewis ad’, but results show that the story isn’t as clear or as engaging as it could be. It doesn’t have a powerful resolution like the retailer’s previous festive offerings,” she concluded.

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