Earlier this year, The Public House, Bounce Insights and Adworld.ie launched The Interesting Index – a bi-monthly research experiment designed to understand what ads people remember and why. Our first edition proved the power of storytelling and creative devices like humour and music as well as how effective Rugby World Cup sponsors were in gaining attention and generating recall.
Our latest edition asked consumers which ads they remembered from November and December and as we’ll see, the results demonstrate the impact of the high standard of advertising during the Christmas season.
So, who came out on top this festive season? The most remembered brands and ads from the past two months, according to The Interesting Index, are:
- Aldi ‘Kevin and the Christmas Factory’
- Coca Cola’s classic ‘Holidays are Coming’
- Guinness’ The Home of Guinness”
- Tesco ‘Become More Christmas’
- An Post ‘Send from the Heart’
- Dunnes Stores ‘Make Christmas for Everyone’
- Lidl ‘A Magical Christmas’
- M&S’s Christmas campaign (food and clothing)
- Charlie’s Bar, Enniskillen’s Christmas ad
- Supervalu’s reindeer Christmas ad
It was no surprise to see all of the major grocery retailers within the top 10 once again – making up 60% of the most remembered ads. However, there were various different factors within the ads that stuck out for our respondents – we’ve pulled out some of the themes we found most interesting below.
If it ain’t broke, keep running it
Both Guinness and Coca Cola made it into the top 3 with their classic Christmas ads, which have been running for almost 20 and 30 years respectively. Not only did people remember the ads, they remembered them fondly with many saying these ads mark the start of Christmas for them…when else do we hear consumers speak so fondly about advertising?! A number of other brands in the top 10 also chose to rerun ads from previous years rather than create new campaigns for 2023, including An Post, Dunnes Stores and SuperValu.
“Coca Cola Christmas ad, because it marks the start of Christmas.”
“It’s the Guinness Christmas ad, where there are snowy scenes against famous backdrops like the Custom House. It sticks in my mind as when it starts appearing you know Christmas is only around the corner.”
Celebs & characters on the nice list
Characters and celebrities were once again proven to be effective tactics for driving recall. Kevin the Carrot came out on top, while An Post’s tin man and Lidl’s racoon also featured within the top 5.
It seemed M&S’s big bet on including multiple celebrities paid off, with several respondents name-checking Dawn French, Tan France, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Hannah Waddingham as the elements that made them remember the ad – once again proving the power of celebrity endorsement.
“M&S Christmas ad. Tan France decorating his Christmas tree.”
“Marks and Spencer. Dawn French voices this and M&S makes me think of quality especially with their Christmas food range.”
Laughing all the way
Research has proven again and again how effective humour can be for brands, so it is no surprise that our number 1 most remembered ad (as well as System 1’s most effective ad, with a 5.9 Star Rating) used this tactic, with several people quoting specific jokes from Aldi’s ad in their responses.
Almost a quarter (23%) of respondents used the term ‘amused’ to describe how they felt in relation to the ads they remembered most – rising to 45% for Aldi. It’s a wonder why use of this technique is in decline.
“Aldi Christmas advert, take on Willy wonka and the chocolate factory with Kevin the carrot and plums. Some funny one lines, like look at his plum crack.”
Good things come in small packages
The viral campaign for Charlie’s Bar in Enniskillen demonstrated that with the right story, investment doesn’t have to rival the big brands – in fact, this ad actually had more mentions than John Lewis and it was the only ad in the top 10 that didn’t air on TV. Emotion proves once again to be a great method of being remembered.
“Co. Fermanagh pub ‘Charlie’s Bar’ in Enniskillen made a Christmas advertisement that went viral recently on social media. It features an elderly man being alone at Christmas. But, it was extremely emotional and inspiring.”
Jingle all the way
There was plenty of debate about John Lewis’ decision to use an Andrea Bocelli track in their campaign. But whatever your opinions on music, it’s clear just how effective it is in driving recall, with many people calling out specific songs as the aspects they remembered most.
“The Tesco Christmas ad about the feeling of Christmas with the song ‘how bizarre’.”
“Smyths Christmas Add, my son loves it and constantly sings the song.”
Christmas stories, not just for kids.
As with the first edition of The Interesting Index, all the ads in the top 10 were brand-led and focused on storytelling, once again showing the impact of this approach on recall and memorability.
Tis the season to be jolly
The feelings most associated with the top 10 ads were ‘happy’ and ‘interested’, with feelings of happiness increasing by +6% compared to the last piece of research – perhaps nodding to the more positive creative approach typical of Christmas ads.
Oh I wish it could be Christmas everyday
The impact of the higher standard of ads during this time can be seen in respondents’ opinions on the quality of advertising. There was an increase of +5% in those who described it as ‘Good advertising with decent ideas’ and a decrease of -4% in those who said it was ‘OK advertising, nothing great or bad’. There was also a 1% decrease in those using the term ‘boring’ to describe the ads they remembered.
We are excited to see how things continue to track into the new year. We’ll be back with the next edition of The Interesting Index in February.
The Interesting Index – a joint initiative from The Public House, Bounce Insights and adworld.ie – is a bi-monthly survey conducted amongst 1,000 nationally representative respondents in Ireland. This survey was conducted in December.