Every Christmas the UK waits with baited breath to catch the first glimpse of the festive ad campaigns from high street giants, Marks and Spencer. This year the all-singing, all-dancing, star studded offering from M&S made its debut during Emmerdale on ITV1 on 3rd November. High street rivals, John Lewis followed suit with a more modest affair, commencing the battle of the festive TV ads.
Set to the Bee Gees’ You Should be Dancing, the ad features a host of British celebrities including: Twiggy, Lisa Snowdon, Dannii Minogue, Jamie Redknapp and Peter Kay who dance their way through the ad, culminating in the strapline ‘Don’t put a foot wrong this Christmas’.
In stark contrast, John Lewis’ ad ‘For those who care about showing they care’ features a sequence of events that involve wrapping presents. Scenarios include parents sneaking a giant horse into the house and mechanics wrapping teapots in their garage. The advert is set to Ellie Goulding’s cover of the Elton John classic Your Song, tipped to be number one in the music charts this Christmas.
Tracking the reaction to the campaigns using BrandIndex data, we see an immediate rise in Attention for the M&S brand, with an increase of 8.8 percent in the 10 days following the release of the advert. In comparison, John Lewis only managed a 6.4 percent increase over the same period of time.
Looking at Buzz scores, Marks and Spencer shot up by 7.9 points in 10 days, whilst John Lewis only registered a 4.8 point increase. However, the data also shows that John Lewis’ increased Buzz score grew steadily over a longer period of time, standing at 32.8 points on 1 December, whereas subsequent to the initial Buzz surrounding the new M&S ad, scores quickly returned to normal for M&S by 17 November.
Looking at comments recorded separately on the TellYouGov leader board, respondents were full of praise for the adverts: “Loving the new ad! Peter Kay and Twiggy; class acts!”, “Love the new M&S advert with Peter Kay and friends, funny stuff!”, and “Love the new Christmas advert” about John Lewis.
Whilst Marks and Spencer may have won the battle of Buzz, it is unclear whether they have won the war of the Christmas ads. Moreover, it remains to be seen whether John Lewis can maintain it’s momentum on Buzz and Attention and compete with M&S’ high Buzz scores.