M&S voted top Christmas ad by the UK’s mums in ChannelMum.com annual survey

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The new Marks & Spencer Christmas commercial featuring Mrs Claus has been voted the favourite for 2016 by the nation’s mums.

The annual poll from parenting site ChannelMum.com found over a third more mums rated the ad as their favourite than previous winner John Lewis, with 37% to 24% favouring the high street favourite’s spectacular polar adventure.

The results – which were compiled just six hours after final major retailer Sainsbury’s released its festive offering – revealed Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot took 18% of the vote for best-loved Xmas ad, followed by 9% for Sainsbury’s, four per cent for Waitrose and three per cent for catalogue firm Very. (See full top 10 below).

M&S was also crowned the most effective Xmas ad, with 40% of mums saying they are more likely to shop with the store as a result of seeing the commercial. M&S were almost neck and neck with last year’s most effective winner Aldi, with 38% of mums agreeing they’d be more likely to shop with the discounter after viewing it’s fun-filled festive jaunt.

However, just 22% will switch to John Lewis despite the £7m cost of Buster the Boxer extravaganza. Indeed, nine in ten of the 1,546 mums polled said they thought the £7m spend was ‘excessive’ with 46% claiming it has turned them off shopping there. A further 17% will switch to Sainsbury’s and 14% to Asda after watching their ads.

But John Lewis remained the kids’ clear favourite, with 54% of children voting for it, followed by 19% for Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot and nine per cent for Argos’ Yetis.

Overall, a whopping 60% of mums admit to crying at Christmas ads. This year, the biggest tearjerker was M&S again, with 54% of mothers weeping after watching it. A quarter sobbed at the John Lewis ad, 12% at Sainsbury’s and nine per cent at the Waitrose robin.

M&S was also voted the most ‘Christmassy’ ad overall by 56% of mums quizzed. And mums revealed their wish-list for the perfect festive ad:

  • Families together enjoying themselves – 81%
  • Snow and Christmas trees – 52%
  • Cosy house with a roaring fire – 45%
  • Dash of humour – 43%
  • Familiar Christmas music – 40%

However, only one per cent want celebs in Xmas ads and only three per cent like trend for cartoons, such as the Sainsbury’s hardworking dad Dave and Very’s secret gifting mum.

Mums also didn’t take well to this year’s trend for producing short ‘snippet’ adverts showcasing products – like Asda and Currys PC World – with just ten per cent saying they found them enjoyable or effective.

And in a shock result retailers should study, three times more want festive ads ‘with a festive feeling and without product information’ (37%) compared to only 12 per cent who want to see items on sale.

But the nation’s mums also feel stores need to reflect real life better. Over half (55%) of mums want to see ‘less perfect, more real’ ads.  Half complained the Xmas ads don’t recognise than many families are still struggling for money, while a third (32%) want to see more kids with disabilities featured, and a quarter asked for more ads about single parents.

By contrast, only 15 per cent said they wanted more ads featuring religion or the true meaning of  Christmas. The study also revealed over half of mums (52%) now watch the ads on Social Media or YouTube before the TV, up from a third in 2015.

A further 71 per cent talk about the ads with their family and friends, two in five (37%) re-watch the Xmas ads on YouTube, a third (33%) talk about them on social media – while 14 per cent even post the ads to their own social profiles, and six per cent use retailers official hashtags.

However, despite all the excitement around the Christmas commercials, two in five (39%) want the ads banned until December, while a further 40 per cent don’t want them to air until after Armistice Day.

Siobhan Freegard, founder of ChannelMum.com, said: “It’s no mean feat to knock John Lewis off the top of the Christmas tree but M&S have done it spectacularly. The new ad is being billed as the perfect Christmas commercial and many mums agree. Not only is it visually stunning, it tugs on the heartstrings, reminds families of what Christmas is all about and also encourages you to take a fresh look at what’s on the shelves in the store. And mums love cheeky touches like ’50 Shades of Red’ book Mrs Claus is spotted reading!

“This year, the Xmas ads have been the most diverse ever – ranging from feature length cartoons to snippets a few seconds long, real life to luxury fantasy. There’s something to tempt even the biggest Scrooge and a reminder of how hard retailers now have to fight for shopper’s festive funds.”

The UK’s Best Loved Xmas Ads, as voted for by mums

1) M&S – 37%

2) John Lewis – 24%

3) Aldi – 18%

4) Sainsbury’s – 9%

5) Waitrose – 4%

6) Very – 3%

7) House of Fraser – 2%

8) Argos – 1%

9) Tesco – 1%

10) Lidl – 1%