Coca-Cola’s and Aldi’s Christmas ads ranked most effective of 2023


Coca-Cola’s and Aldi’s Christmas ads ranked most effective of 2023

Weeks after the first Christmas ad teasers launched on 1 November, data from System1 and Kantar reveals which ads are most effective.

This year’s crop of Christmas ads has been particularly successful, according to research by effectiveness measurement firms System1 and Kantar, which crown Aldi and Coca-Cola as having the top festive ads, respectively.

Aldi’s ‘Kevin and the Christmas Factory’ featuring its recurring Kevin the Carrot character scores the highest of all the Christmas ads, according to System1’s data.

It’s the fifth year in a row that an ad featuring Kevin the Carrot has hit 5-stars, and this year marks the brand’s second maximum score of 5.9 in a row.

It is followed by Coca-Cola’s long-running ‘Holidays are Coming’ ad, Amazon’s ‘Joy Ride’, retailer The Works’ ‘Unwrap Real Value Gifts’, M&S Food’s ad reprising the role of Dawn French’s fairy, Morrisons’ ad featuring singing oven gloves and Barbour’s ‘Shaun the Sheep x Baa-Bour’, all of which also score 5.9 stars. System1 breaks the tie to crown Aldi as the most effective by folding in its Spike rating, which forecasts short-term sales impact.

The rest of the top 12 is made up of Lidl (5.8 stars), Disney (5.7), Sainsbury’s (5.7), Vodafone (5.6) and Duracell (5.4).


Meanwhile, data from Kantar based on feedback from 3,600 consumers, ranks Coca-Cola’s ‘Holidays are Coming’ as the most effective Christmas ad this year.

Notably, neither ranking features Coca-Cola’s new ‘The World Needs More Santas’ ad.

Overall, 2023 has been the strongest year on Kantar’s records for effectiveness and entertainment.

McDonald’s ‘Fancy a McDonald’s this Christmas’ campaign ranks second, according to Kantar’s findings. followed by Cadbury’s ‘Secret Santa’ and Duracell’s ‘Bunny Saves Christmas’.

However, it was McDonald’s which scored the highest in terms of delivering laughs. Its campaign ranks among the top 2% of the UK’s funniest ads according to Kantar’s research, whose face-tracking technology revealed it made over a quarter of Brits laugh out loud.

Overall Christmas ads this year have delivered a 67% improvement on effectiveness – based on “metrics including consumer enjoyment, entertainment and the incorporation of the brand”, Kantar says. That is a stark improvement when compared with 2021, when festive campaigns performed in the bottom 16% of all ads on average.


Recurrent success

Jon Evans, chief customer officer at System1 called 2022 a “record-breaking” year for Christmas ads but says marketers have topped it this year with even higher scores.

Last year 16 brands’ Christmas campaigns achieved 5-stars – with five of those receiving a maximum rating of 5.9. This year, according to System1 data, 20 brands’ ads received 5-stars, with seven scoring 5.9-stars.

“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,” he says.

This tracks with data provided by Kantar, which demonstrates the effectiveness of recurring characters and fluent devices for brands.

Lynne Deason, head of creative excellence for Kantar UK, explains that ongoing campaigns score among the top 20% of all UK ads for effectiveness.

Citing Cadbury’s success she says: “The ad performed excellently – even slightly better than it did in 2022 – and landing itself in our top four ads. What’s clear from a lot of 2023’s success stories is that there is real value in consistency.”


Deason explains: “Brand cues for ‘new ads’ this Christmas are around average levels. Ongoing campaigns are in the top 20% of all UK ads. This is rocket fuel to the power and ability of your advertising to be remembered in association with your brand, amplifying the effectiveness of it.”

The discrepancy is especially stark when it comes to long-term effectiveness, where Kantar finds new Christmas ads perform in the top 40% of ads overall, while continuation ads perform in the top 5% on average.

While it does not appear in the System1 effectiveness charts, McDonald’s has also redeployed its successful brand platform ‘Raise Your Arches’ for its Christmas campaign.

However, as Morrisons’ presence in the System1 top 12 demonstrates, “new” ads can also score particularly highly, provided they convey emotion and a message coherently.


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