It’s the end of December, and the increasingly saturated Christmas ad race is starting to halt. Those who have yet to air their festive mega commercial have pretty much missed the boat, whilst the championing Christmas cinematics rack up YouTube views and pub talk.

Christmas lovers, and there are many out there, now eagerly anticipate the Christmas advertising rivalry amongst brands, increasing the pressure for such brands to perform. The dominant response to such pressure is cinematic storytelling. Which have become events of their own. Christmas campaigns now have their own block-buster film style premiere and budget, tugging at the heart strings of consumers.

Emotion packed spots by the likes of John Lewis and Sainsbury’s have created a trend of Christmas clichés, with every brand worth his salt feeling obligated to produce a tear-jerking cinematic, in an attempt to seduce consumers into parting with their cash in store. Although such campaigns are artistically stunning, showcasing great creative flare, one can’t help but question if they truly influence purchase behaviour?

Recent research by Millward and Brown has investigated this Christmas phenomenon. The study analysed 18 TV adverts and how they resonated with and influenced consumer audiences. Scores on factors ranging from branding and involvement to enjoyment and persuasion were given by viewers. The study concluded that Warburtons’ ‘The Giant Crumpet Show’ was the most successful ad when it comes to driving sales and brand building, a true triumph for WCRS. The ‘Giant Crumpet Show’ was the best all-rounder out of all ads, scoring highest on involvement (a mean score of 7.16, the norm is 4.53), branding (4.49 versus 3.87), sets the trends (3.71 versus 3.08) and persuasion – making people more likely to buy (3.49 compared to 2.94). It was rated joint highest on being different from others, and second highest on relevance.

The immense performance of WCRS’ work for Warburtons demonstrates that emotively charged tear jerking campaigns aren’t always what audiences covet. Warburtons have triumphed in the war of festive ads, while John Lewis and Sainsbury’s have failed to match the success of previous years. Amanda Phillips, UK head of Marketing at Millward Brown notes “Warburtons’ success shows you don’t have to make people cry to win their hearts, or shower them with Christmas to make an impact”.

Jake Bogira

About Jake Bogira

Marketing Executive and festival goer. Rarely caught out of a pair of Dr Martens. Former WPP apprentice, lover of film, photography, tequila and halloumi.

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