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£100 Ad Wins More Online Love Than £7m Competitor

‘Tis the season for ads that pull at our heartstrings and brands are going all out to win top billing as most talked about. And online offers a study in contrasts, with one £100 mom and pop shop ad winning significant online love and rating a comparison against a major brand’s Christmas ad that came with a £7m price tag! Ad agencies, take note!

Money Can’t Buy Happiness – Or Can It?

The John Lewis & Partners/Waitrose & Partners’ ad is a mini-cinematic masterpiece, and the making of it is pretty spectacular as well. They had scriptwriting, storyboarding, CGI wizardry and a huge cast of extras on a set that didn’t scrimp on the details. And it came with an equally spectacular price tag of £7m. Watch:

the making of excitable edgar, a mini-cinematic masterpiece

Their focus was on thoughtful giving and ‘the gift of acceptance,’ which are both admirable goals. And they really hit their target demographic in the feelz:

Understading Excitable Edgar demographic and winning online love for ad

But first, let’s look at another advertisement that has been mentioned repeatedly in comparison. And it isn’t being mentioned for its CGI prowess, but rather its pure simplicity.

Harod Hardware Captures Holiday Spiri

Hafod Hardware is a 19th Century, family run hardware shop, based in Rhayader, Mid-Wales:

Haford Hardware Twitter account

And it released an ad that made online go wild

It features a little boy, going through his day, from getting ready in the morning and opening the hardware store, to sweeping and helping customers. When it’s time to close up shop, and he’s about to carry a tree home, he stands up and is suddenly a 30something man. The ad is titled “Be A Kid This Christmas.”

BeaKidatChristmas ad that won significant online love

Top terms by sentiment and top emotions expressed online about it agree – this ad is a winner:

net sentiment expressing love for Haford ad

And the one negative mention, which you can easily and immediately track back through NetBase’s transparent product, can be found on Reddit – and is concerned with the ad’s aesthetics, apparently!

First, we sort to find negative mentions:

analyzing negative mentions of Harford ad

Next, we analyze authors to see what, specifically was said, by whom – and where:

identifying authors of negative posts about ad everyone loves

And can click through to the exact post to see how others are reacting to it, and if this is a detractor to potentially pay attention to (and add to our list of ‘known detractors’ to keep an eye on going forward!):

tracking a detractor back to Reddit

The “ugly grading” seems to apply to color grading. Here are some color grading tips for the Haford Hardware folks to consider moving forward, if they like! But it seems they’re doing everything right, for the most part

Generational Advertising Campaign

The Haford Hardware family is not new to this advertising business, it seems – so this isn’t a case of beginner’s luck. It has created pretty compelling holiday ads for at least three years now. And in each, we’re seeing the third generation of their family, and star of its current ad, growing up.

It’s 2018 ad’s theme was “Making Houses Homes” and shows the child star’s Dad making a model of the hardware store to put in the window:

Haford ad from 2018, making houses homes

And its 2017 ad shows a harried new father delivering gifts to all of his far away customers on Christmas Eve, waking up with a start on Christmas morning to see that his presents had magically been wrapped for him:

Haford ad from 2017

 The family focus is consistent, with grandparents and their son’s family acting in each instance. And that undoubtedly lends to its draw as well.

It speaks to the fact that audience understanding is never a ‘one and done’ activity. This family advertising team has powerful, and consistent, branding at play. And they understand the values that its audience relates to, with the target demographic trending older, in general. But also capturing a good number of each successive age group, in turn. It’s quite an interesting breakdown:

demographic breakdown for those loving the Haford ad

As soon as this year’s ad was released, it took a couple of days to build momentum – and once someone compared it to the amazing CGI John Lewis/Waitrose ad, it really took off:

 when compared to the John Lewis ad, the Haford ad took off online

Not that the folks at John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners aren’t doing a wonderful job with their ad. They absolutely are!

Excitable Edgar Generating Awe & Excitement

Since its launch on November 14th, it had a consistent showing and solid sentiment – but then there was a change November 30th – and it’s always good to investigate further:

timeline comparison for John Lews ad to better understand online love 

We can click on the exact day and pull up a fluctuation summary to see what is driving the negativity. And see that a snide comment is behind the Net Sentiment shift:

seeing what is being said exactly to drive negative ad mentions

And then one catches a hint of similar annoyance happening just ahead of this:

some annoyance with John Lewis ads

This sort of intel is very helpful as it offers the ability to shift a narrative before it sticks. And this is something that John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners does – expertly. They’re big proponents of practicing what they preach: thoughtful giving and the gift of acceptance. 

John Lewis and Waitrose practicing what they preach with thoughtful giving

And that wins them lots of love online:

John Lews and Waitrose online love for ads

They are a much larger business (particularly the two combined!) than a local hardware store, so the mix of positive and negative sentiment is a given in this fast-paced online world. And why monitoring sentiment is so important! A comparison between the two is apples to oranges really, but as online has already done so, let’s see how it looks!

Comparing Ad Passion

John Lewis and Partners shared the video on Twitter on November 14th:

Excitable Edgar ad

And has 392k followers on Twitter:

John Lews and Partners Twitter

Compare this following to Haford Hardware’s less than 3k followers, and the number of mentions and Net Sentiment when comparing the two is pretty astounding (Net Sentiment can range from -100 to 100):

comparison of the two ads

Excitable Edgar is an incredible advertisement, but in comparison to the folksy, regular Joe type family business, and the sentiment it commands, it doesn’t generate the same level of passion. Which is to be expected, really:

brand passion of the two ads 

And, a good number of its mentions are comparing it to the John Lewis/Waitrose ad, so they can thank them for the assist!

HHaford John Lewis mentions

So both ads hit their target market, which a very different approach. Wouldn’t your brand like to do that? It’s all in the sentiment!

Reach out and we can show you ways to connect meaningfully with your audience and capture everything good this holiday season, and beyond. As the magic of next generation AI-powered social analytics is available year-round