John Lewis' 'Monty the Penguin' is the most compelling High St Christmas ad



London – 16 December 2014 – John Lewis’ “Monty the Penguin” is the most compelling Christmas ad by a high street retailer, according to a study by Realeyes which measured people’s facial reactions as they watched ads.

Almost 1,500 people agreed to have their faces measured via their own computer webcam so Realeyes, which was founded at Oxford University, could determine their emotional reactions to Christmas ads from 25 leading high-street brands. In total, the research incorporated over 2.2 million facial data points.


“Monty the Penguin” scored 84% on the emotionally compelling scale – a combined measure of how the ad scores on attraction, retention, engagement and impact. This put it in the top 16% of ads ever measured by Realeyes.

Monty narrowly beat Harvey Nichols’ “Could I be any clearer” (80%) ad on helping people avoid unwanted gifts using Christmas cards designed to point the reader in the right direction. The Post Office’s “Get Christmas All Wrapped Up” featuring Robert Webb and Pixie Lott was third (68%).

Top 10 compelling high st retailer Xmas ads

Other ad links: Boots, Lidl, WaitroseSainsbury'sHouse of Fraser.

“There are four elements to make an ad resonate emotionally,” explains Realeyes’ CEO Mihkel Jäätma. “Attract or hook the audience early, retain their attention, engage by invoking some form of reaction – the stronger the better – and finish with impact. Monty scored joint highest on engagement and impact with Harvey Nichols, but won because it was the best ad at retaining attention. However, both ads were very mid-table when it came to initial attraction.”

Iceland’s ad, with Peter Andre picking out desserts, made it into the top five courtesy of the highest score on initial attraction of all the ads measured, along with Harrods’ “Land of Make Believe”.

Although celebrities feature in two of the top five ads, they’re not a sure-fire way of making an ad compelling. Littlewoods offering with singer Myleene Klass had the second lowest overall score of all 25 ads and the lowest initial attraction score. H&M’s ad with Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett had the fourth lowest score of all the ads measured.

 Realeyes’ CEO Mihkel Jäätma
Jäätma notes, “H&M had the second lowest retention score of all the ads, which meant by the time Gaga and Bennett appeared, audiences had already drifted off – an expensive mistake. Featuring them earlier could have made a big difference.”

M&S will also be disappointed to learn their latest big budget ad “Follow the Fairies” didn’t resonate very well with consumers, having the eighth lowest score.

Jäätma concludes, “Despite being top of the charts and outperforming last year’s “Bear & Hare”, Monty still didn’t reach the heights of our all-time Christmas winner, Harvey Nichols’ humorous “Sorry I Spent It On Myself” from last year, which is in the top 4% of ads we’ve ever tested.”

Realeyes’ emotion analytics platform enables marketers to make better decisions across three key stages of TV/video advertising – testing the ad, planning media spend and analysing how it performed. 
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