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The UK's Christmas Ad Music 2018 - An Analysis

Trends and Insight 254 Add to collection

Plus an alternative Christmas playlist from the team at Big Sync Music

The UK's Christmas Ad Music 2018 - An Analysis

This year’s batch of fresh, beautiful and expensively packaged Christmas ads are a constant punctuation to our general screen time. From cute kids, to singing Amazon boxes to animated root vegetables and a controversial ‘Rang-tan’ their stories are already part of our festive season, making us laugh, cry, feel warm and fuzzy and increasingly sparking debate. As the big day draws closer we’ve taken a good look at this year’s festive brand offerings and the music they are set to.  

Music plays a big role in manipulating our feelings in advertising especially at what is already an emotional time of year. We know that 42% of consumers identify sound as important in brand communications*. We expect to be moved - and the YouTube comments always make an entertaining read. This year’s seasonal ads are, whether we want it or not, helping to soundtrack our Christmas, guiding the way we are feeling and ultimately purchasing goods.  

This year, the magic formula to a successful Christmas broadcast advert could be changing. Research company Kantar Millward Brown recently published their results of an analysis of 22 of this year’s Christmas ads from UK brands and retailers. Their survey findings suggest that while story telling, well told, is the key to success, big isn’t always best for consumers. I believe the same goes for the music.

We’re used to crowd pleasing cover versions of massive chart hits or brands using classic Christmassy original tracks. Of Kantar’s 22 commercials surveyed, 10 did license originals but steered clear of being too obvious like ASDA’s ‘Christmas’ by Darlene Love or M&S synching Tom Jones with ‘Give A Little Love’. High scoring Aldi used Danny Elfman’s Edward Scissorhands’ soundtrack for ‘Kevin the Carrot and the Wicked Parsnip’ while the Argos mischievous imp wreaks havoc to Verdi’s ‘Rigoletto’. Seven brands chose re-records or covers of well known songs like Amazon’s impressive re-record of The Jacksons’ ‘Can You Feel It’ - helping the brand score high and conveying the feeling of excitement and anticipation consumers are loving. Sainsbury’s also went big with a re-record of the uplifting ‘You Get What You Give’ by New Radicals while John Lewis went huge with its Elton John story and mammoth licensing deal.  

Only four used original composition and one, Lidl, didn't use any music at all. But the surprise and undisputed winner of Christmas and Kantar’s highest scoring Christmas ad across all factors is Iceland’s ‘No Palm Oil Christmas’. By 4th December, it had gained over 65million views online in total and it scores higher than any brand including John Lewis in the Kantar survey. The brand commissioned an original score that carries Emma Thompson’s voiceover, taking you on a cinematic journey of emotions from playful to pensive, then tense and strained to fearful, then sorrowful and ultimately, hopeful.

Kantar’s research indicates that consumers love good story telling at any time of the year, if it’s right for the brand and the brand doesn’t get lost in the story. Getting the music right is a huge part of this story telling process and it’s good to see that behind some of these high performing ads are some high performing tracks and arrangements that don’t detract from the main purpose of the film but complement it.  

I’m looking forward to next year’s offerings already - meanwhile here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas from everyone at Big Sync Music and we invite you to have a listen to our Alternative Christmas Playlist.   

See you next year!


Dominic Caisley

* Percentage of consumers identifying ‘sound’ as important in communications and product experience – BRANDsense, Millward Brown. 

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Big Sync Music, Thu, 20 Dec 2018 13:37:46 GMT