The 10 Most Effective Holiday Ads: Focus on Philanthropy Works for Walmart

Ad Researcher Ranks Ad Effectiveness With Measures Such as Likability and Relevance

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Consumers are responding positively to holiday ads focused on philanthropy, food and family time, according to new data from ad tracking firm Ace Metrix.

A Kohl's ad plays up kindness to neighbors

And in contrast to the pre-Black Friday holiday rush, when fewer ads ran than a year ago, retail and consumer companies have run more holiday ads year to date, at 352 versus 342 at this time last year, said Jonathan Symonds, exec-VP marketing at Ace Metrix, which tracks ad effectiveness based on consumer responses and scores them based on metrics like "likability," "attention" and "relevance."

"Consumers really do relate with doing good in this time of year," Mr. Symonds said, citing ads from Walmart and Duracell that did well with consumers as examples. "They like the sprit of the message."

Walmart's "Christmas Magic" ad showcasing its Salvation Army program was No. 1 for effectiveness among holiday ads tracked by Ace Metrix this year. The retailer has run 40 holiday ads this year, a slight increase from its holiday ad base last year, according to Mr. Symonds. In addition to emphasizing giving back, the retailer is pushing convenience in its ads, emphasizing that it can help consumers fill all their holiday shopping needs at its stores -- from food to gifts.

"It's the concept of a basket of products as opposed to one single product," said Mr. Symonds. "One-stop shopping seemed to be a prevalent theme for advertising."

Conversely, in 2012, retailers focused on the perfect gift, Mr. Symonds said, while in 2011, the focus was on technology, with tablets as the go-to. The 2013 ads from Reynolds, Pillsbury, IHOP, Kohl's, Olive Garden and Lowe's each fulfill this trend of making "entertaining easy so you can spend more time with family."

Mr. Symonds added: "The concept of being a gracious host or hostess does resonate with consumers."

The Top Ten Holiday Ads, According to Ace Metrix

1. Walmart, "Christmas Magic"

2. Reynolds, "Cookie Magic"

3. Duracell, "Very Special Batteries"

4. Pillsbury, "Make the Holidays Pop"

5. IHOP, "Holiday Meal"

6. USPS, "Holiday Delivering"

7. Samsung, "It's A Miracle"

8. Kohl's, "Christmas Surprise"

9. Olive Garden, "Holiday Core Menu Lunch"

10. Lowe's, "It's Easy"

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