More than half of UK mums have been left in tears watching the 2018 Xmas ads – as more stores copy the hit ‘John Lewis formula.’ A huge 53 per cent of mums admitted they cried at the commercials, almost double the 30 per cent left dabbing their eyes over the 2017 ads, according to a survey by ChannelMum.
A potent seasonal blend of familiar music, family drama and children’s Xmas reactions have proved a winning formula for John Lewis – and has been copied this year by other top stores including Sainsbury’s and Boots.
But while 21 per cent of mums confessed they cried at the John Lewis Elton John epic, and one in ten at Sainsbury’s and Boots, the most emotionally-engaging ad is the Iceland ‘Rang-tang’ with more than a quarter of mums (26 per cent) viewing it saying they were left sobbing.
The anti-palm oil campaign, originally made by Greenpeace, has been banned from television but 94 per cent of families feel this is the wrong decision and want to see the commercial reinstated, the study revealed. Iceland has seen the ad shared massively across social media – which was possibly their intention from the outset.
ChannelMum.com Founder Siobhan Freegard said: “This year’s crop of Christmas ads will tug on both the heartstrings and the purse strings. While some stores are treading a familiar festive path with tinkly piano tracks and family ups and downs, the Iceland ad has had huge impact for a very different reason. It has raised enormous awareness of the palm oil issue in just a couple of days and done it all online only.”
The poll also found one in five parents (20 per cent) are more likely to take notice of a festive ads which have a charity message or political campaign, rising to a quarter of under 35s – a new trend retailers will need to embrace. And nine in ten (91 per cent) also back a ban on festive ads appearing on the television before Remembrance Day, as a mark of respect for the Services.
Overall the John Lewis ad remains the UK’s most popular Christmas commercial voted for by 27 per cent of 1,572 mums polled – but Iceland came a close second on 23 per cent.
Also loved by parents were Aldi (16 per cent), Sainsbury’s (10 per cent) and M&S (4 per cent). Least popular overall was the 12 Day of Xmas themed offering from The Range with under one percent of mums voting it their favourite.
But perhaps the most successful ad of the year is Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot. It was the runaway kids’ favourite, voted for by two in five children (39 per cent), more than three times more popular than then next child’s favourite (Iceland on 13 per cent). It also topped the laughs category with a whopping 45 per cent crowing it the funniest festive ad of 2018, ahead of Sainsbury’s (15 per cent), Argos (9 per cent) and Tesco and Lidl (7 per cent each).
Most importantly, it was also crowned the overall most effective ad with 23 percent of mums saying they would change their shopping habits to visit an Aldi store after viewing it. This was followed by Iceland on 20 percent, ahead of John Lewis on 19 percent and Sainsbury’s on 15 percent.
The least-effective ads were Waitrose, Very and The Range with fewer than one in 20 mums tempted to swap shops due to the ad.
The research also revealed 41 per cent of families watched the Xmas ads online first this year – the highest figure since the study began in 2013. While 59 per cent still wait to watch the ads on TV, this has plummeted by ten percent in the last year alone.
The report also revealed more than a third of mums re-watch their favourite ads on social media as a leisure activity (34 per cent) while almost a quarter (22 per cent) share their top ads on their social media profiles. A further 91 percent discuss the Christmas commercials with friends and family.
However, despite the widespread national enjoyment of the Xmas ads, nine in ten mums say stores spend ‘far too much money’ on the festive epics, which could be used to lower prices or help those in need at Xmas.
Freegard added: “Tis the season to watch the Christmas commercials. Despite industry reports heralding the death of the Xmas ad, interest from families grows every year with parents and children settling down to watch the ads together. The ads are mini epics with a third of mums even claiming the John Lewis release date is the real start of Xmas.”