The battle of the TV Christmas adverts | DMA

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The battle of the TV Christmas adverts


In recent years, Christmas themed adverts have become a klaxon for the festive period. For many people, the launch of these big brand TV ads is now a massive part of Christmas itself, with plenty of analysis and reviews on whose was the best.

With this in mind, if you asked someone on the street to name three of the Christmas TV advertisements by John Lewis, I imagine that they could probably answer the question in less than 30 seconds. This shows the impact that an effective TV advertisement can have and how important it is for a brand to get it right.

We put five popular Christmas TV advertisements (John Lewis, Burberry, Marks and Spencer, Allegro and Sainsbury) through a series of tests, including facial expression recognition, eye tracking and galvanic skin response (GSR), to see what we really thought of the 2016 Christmas TV advertisement, and who won the battle…

The Verdict
Within this experiment, we measured people’s reactions to this year’s Christmas TV advertisements based on joy, emotional engagement and valiance.

Joy was measured by tracking one specific emotional response using face coding, emotional engagement was determined from both facial coding and GSR and valiance is based on an algorithm that takes all facial expression into account and evaluates the overall reaction as positive or negative.

In terms of non-conscious emotional response there were two clear winners. Both the John Lewis and the Allegro adverts scored the highest for emotional engagement and valiance. However, it was the Allegro advert that trumped all of the others having the highest score for joy.

Interestingly, the Sainsbury’s advertisement has less emotional engagement than M&S but provoked more joy. When subjects were asked which advert they preferred, 57% of participants provided a conscious answer that differed from their unconscious emotional response.

Read more and watch the adverts on our blog.

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