Which supermarket Christmas ads have the UK public actually noticed?
December 14th, 2023, Stephan Shakespeare

Which supermarket Christmas ads have the UK public actually noticed?

Some supermarkets, such as Iceland, are eschewing Christmas ads entirely this year – but they’re very much in the minority. So among the retailers who did run ads, which has made the biggest splash? YouGov BrandIndex UK, a tool which tracks public perceptions of thousands of brands each day, can reveal the grocery retailers whose campaigns have seen the most significant improvements in Ad Awareness over the festive season so far. 

The top four grocery brands in terms of growth for this metric bet big on celebrity talent, and our data suggests it has paid off. Marks & Spencer’s ads this year have included Dawn French, Ryan Reynolds, Hannah Waddingham, and Tan France (among others), and the brand’s Ad Awareness has risen from 24.0 to 51.4 between 1 November – 10 December: an improvement of 27.4 points. The clothing and home ad in particular won praise for undercutting some festive traditions, although there were also negative headlines after a – since-removed – outtake on Instagram showed festive hats (perceived to be similar in colours to the Palestinian flag) burning in a fire. Nevertheless, it’s the strongest performer in terms of improvement and in terms of overall awareness.

ASDA, whose “Make this Christmas Incredibublé” ad – featuring Michael Bublé, and directed by acclaimed fillmmaker Taika Waititi – has seen Ad Awareness rise from 18.8 to 39.6 over the same period: an improvement of 20.8 points overall. 

The Sainsbury’s ad ranked third in terms of improved Ad Awareness. Scores rose from 23.6 to 35.0 (+11.4), with some help from 80s pop star Rick Astley, while Waitrose, who released an ad featuring Graham Norton, came fourth, with scores jumping from 9.4 to 19.7 (+10.3). Morrisons rounded out the top five and were an outlier, forgoing star-studded talent in favour of talking oven mitts: the supermarket’s scores have risen from 16.8 to 25.0 (+8.2).  

For the most part, though, the brands that have seen the biggest improvement have invested in well-known talent. ASDA celebrated Christmas with a singer strongly associated with the season, M&S had Sophie Ellis-Bextor blowtorch a pile of Christmas cards, and both have won the attention of the public. 

This article originally appeared in City AM. Check out our Christmas campaign tracker here.