John Lewis Christmas ad trails rivals for converting shoppers

The John Lewis Christmas ad has scored lowest in a poll of Christmas ads in terms of converting viewers into shoppers, despite achieving the highest score in terms of emotional engagement of the three ads tested.

John Lewis 2012 Christmas ad

John Lewis Christmas ads show snowman love story

The research, carried out by Vision Critical, measured real time consumer responses to John Lewis, Boots and Marks & Spencer’s Christmas TV ads.

It found that John Lewis’ snowman love story ad scored the lowest in terms of converting audiences into shoppers. Just 13 per cent of viewers said they would definitely buy from the retailer after seeing the ad compared to 14 per cent who would shop with Boots and 20 per cent who would shop with M&S.

Vision Critical’s research said one weakness of the 90-second ad is that it is “a bit slow and boring” but the music helps drive involvement.

John Lewis reported a 7.6 per cent year on year sales increase in the week following the TV ad launch.

The department store did, however, score the highest of the three in the global effectiveness benchmark rating achieving a score of 7, compared to a global benchmark of 6 out of 10. M&S achieved 6.2 and Boots scored 6.

The controversial dog scene in Boots’ ad, currently the cause of several complaints to the ASA, was deemed the funniest scene. A scene in the M&S ad featuring a group of children prompted thehighest happiness score. Emotional reactions to the John Lewis ad peak the first time the young girl sees the lonely snow-woman and final scene when she is wearing the matching red scarf and gloves.

Ahead of the research, 67 per cent of respondents were aware of the M&S ad - more than the other brands. Just 39 per cent were aware of Boots ad and only 22 per cent had already seen the John Lewis ad.

Vision Critical used its add+impact tool to measure the real time responses consumers had to the ads and found peaks of mention at specific points.

The online survey polled more than 1,100 consumers on John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Boots Christmas ads and compared them with a database of more than 6,000 global ads. It was carried out last week following the TV launch.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Interesting, although the fact that a lower % of customers saying they would definitely buy is likely to be affected by other factors. An obvious one being the higher number of boots and m&s stores. Customers may not buy from John Lewis because there is not one nearby. I imagine boots and m&s have a significantly higher number of stores.

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  • I'd agree with the previous comment. There are lots of factors that can stand in the way from claimed to actual behaviour. Access to stores is likely to be one of them, but there are also internal factors that prevent people from behaving as they claim. In our neuro-research work, we've found the best indicator of behavioural intent is what's laid down into memory - and strong emotional response is one of the factors that drives memory encoding. So maybe John Lewis can take comfort from the fact that they scored most highly in that respect.

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