Monty the penguin tops engagement study

John Lewis's "Monty the penguin" was the most compelling Christmas ad of 2014, according to research by facial recognition analysts.

The ad for the retailer scored 84 per cent in a study by Realeyes that measured people’s facial reactions via a webcam as they watched Christmas ads.

Almost 1,500 people took part in the study, which scored ads on attraction, retention, engagement and impact.

The John Lewis Christmas ad was followed in the poll by the "could I be any clearer?" spot for Harvey Nichols, which scored 80 per cent. Both campaigns were created by Adam & Eve/DDB.

According to Realeyes, John Lewis’ score is in the top 16 per cent of ads ever measured by the company.

Mihkel Jäätma, the chief executive at 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."

The Post Office’s "get Christmas all wrapped up" campaign came third in the survey but scored significantly lower than the top two, at 60 per cent.

Also in the top five scoring Christmas ads was Boots’ "#SpecialBecause" campaign and Iceland’s "Peter Andre and desserts" ad.

Harvey Nichols’ 2013 Christmas campaign, "sorry, I spent it on myself" – also created by A&E/DDB – was the most engaging festive ad ever measured by Realeyes, with a score that put it in the top 4 per cent of spots measured by the company.

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