NEWS17 December 2014

Facial reactions points to John Lewis’ penguin’s popularity

News UK

UK — John Lewis’ Monty the Penguin ad is the most compelling Christmas ad among those of UK high street retailers according to a study measuring people’s facial reactions as they watched the ad from Realeyes.


The study involved almost 1,500 people having their faces measured via their own computer webcam. Realeyes then determined their emotional reactions to the 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. It was followed by Harvey Nichols’ “Could I be any clearer” ( 80%) ad on helping people avoid unwanted gifts. The Post Office’s ‘Get Christmas All Wrapped Up’ featuring Robert Webb and Pixie Lott was third ( 68%).

Mihkel Jäätma, CEO of Realeyes, said: “There are four elements to make an ad resonate emotionally: 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.” 

Celebrities don’t guaranteed that an ad will be compelling. Littlewoods’ Myleene Klass ad 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. 

Jäätma said: “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.”