aldi xmas 2023

McCann's festive Aldi ad wins Christmas, says System1

System1's 'Twelve Ads Of Christmas' has ranked Aldi and McCann's 'William Conker's Christmas Factory' campaign as the best festive ad of the year, with Leo Burnett's Morrisons campaign coming sixth

By creative salon

Creative effectiveness platform System1 has released the 'Twelve Ads Of Christmas' – its top 12 Christmas ads of 2023, based on viewers’ emotional response data captured via its Test Your Ad platform. Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot returned to the top of the list in what System1 is dubbing 'the most fiercely fought Christmas ad season we’ve seen'. Coca-Cola's annual classic ‘Trucks’ ad took second, and Amazon’s sledging old ladies were third. There were also best-ever Christmas ad scores for Morrisons and M&S Food and a debut in the top five for The Works.

In Test Your Ad, each ad is given a star rating from one-star to 5.9-stars, a measure predicting their potential to drive long-term brand growth. Overall, only 1 per cent of ads land in the five-star range. To rank the ads which gained the maximum 5.9-Star rating System1 used a secondary measure, Spike, which predicts short-term sales impact.

In 2022, 16 brands’ Christmas campaigns achieved five-stars, with five of these hitting the highest rating of 5.9. This year, System1 tested more than 50 Christmas ads and 20 secured five-stars, with seven scoring 5.9-Stars.

“Last year was record-breaking for Christmas ads,” said Jon Evans, Chief Customer Officer at System1. “And somehow marketers have topped it in 2023 with even higher scores. It's thanks to advertisers leaning in to consistency and re-using familiar characters like the M&S Fairy and Kevin the Carrot, with a heavy emphasis on traditional elements like Santa too.”

Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot returns to the top of the rankings this year, with an ad based on the childrens’ classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Aldi is the most successful British Christmas brand - it’s the fifth year in a row that the Kevin ad has hit five-stars, and the brand’s second maximum score in a row.

Coca-Cola comes in second with its holiday perennial 'Holidays Are Coming'. Coke release the ad every year and it has never failed to achieve a five-star score in testing.

Third is Amazon, with its wordless storytelling ad starring three elderly ladies using the online retailer to relive the tobogganing days of their youth.

Also landing the maximum 5.9-stars are M&S Food with their recurring Fairy character and Morrisons’ ad with animated oven gloves – for both brands it’s their most successful Christmas ad and highest score. The Morrisons ad - created by Leo Burnett - also shows that you do not need an elaborate story, a celebrity, or large production budget to achieve a top score.

The highest debutant in the Christmas top 10 is bargain toy retailer The Works, whose ad showing kids unwrapping their gifts was able to take on and equal some of the biggest names in retail.

The final maximum score went to Barbour, who recruited Shaun the Sheep for this year’s story of damaged jackets. It is the top-scoring new ad by a non-retailer – other non-retail brands to perform well in 2023 include Disney, Vodafone and a rare Christmas outing for the Duracell bunny.

The Top 12 Ads

The top ads are ordered by star rating. Ads level on star rating are ordered according to System1’s 'Spike Rating' which predicts short-term sales impact.

  1. Aldi - “Kevin and the Christmas Factory” (5.9-Stars)

  2. Coca Cola - “Holidays are Coming” (5.9-Stars)

  3. Amazon - “Joy Ride” (5.9-Stars)

  4. The Works - “Unwrap Real Value Gifts” (5.9-Stars)

  5. M&S Food - “2023 Christmas Advert” (5.9-Stars)

  6. Morrisons - “Christmas Advert 2023” (5.9-Stars)

  7. Barbour - “Shaun the Sheep x Baa-Bour” (5.9-Stars)

  8. Lidl - ”A magical Christmas with Lidl” (5.8-Stars)

  9. Disney - “A Wish for the Holidays” (5.7-Stars)

  10. Sainsbury’s - “This ChrisAtmas, one little girl asks one BIG question” (5.7-Stars)

  11. Vodafone “Feel the Connection this Christmas” (5.6-Stars)

  12. Duracell ‘Bunny Saves Christmas’ (5.4-Stars)

“It’s been a really close Christmas ad battle but I’m not too surprised by the results” added Evans. “Our recent wear out study proved that far from wearing out many good campaigns actually wear in. Coca-Cola were one of the first brands to realise an ad is for life not just for Christmas, and they keep reaping the rewards of their investment in the legendary trucks. Aldi have learned that lesson so well – people love to see Kevin return each year, and there’s enormous effort that goes into making the ads as entertaining as possible. That’s reflected in their extraordinary consistency and stellar results. It’s also great to see high scores for M&S Food and Duracell who really bring consistency too.”

“Even the brands with all-new ads make sure they’re consistent in their brand promise – Amazon tell a beautiful story with a very clear commercial message. Finally it’s been a wonderful year for brand characters – we're all hoping we’ve not seen the last of Morrisons’ oven gloves, the hottest character find of Christmas 2023. Christmas is the time of year when brands really go all out to entertain for commercial gain, and that’s what lies behind this incredible crop of 5-Star successes. Congratulations to them all!”


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