It’s that time of year again, the evenings are closing in, the Christmas decorations we complained about seeing in the high street in November are now in our living rooms and the race to prepare for the big occasions has well and truly got under way.

In keeping with tradition, here in RED C, we have undertaken our annual ‘who wins Christmas Ad Test’ 2023.

Guinness and the Home of Christmas takes the #1 spot in 2023, leaving us under no illusion that Christmas remains a time of year for emotive campaigns centred on nostalgia. The ad first launched almost 20 years ago in 2004 and is still viewed as an exceptionally strong advert on emotional connection. Coupled with this, the ad has the brand routed in the centre of the creative and achieves very high distinctiveness scores.  The ad still generates conservation after all these years which is proven in our test with very high fame scores.

Overall, the average scores for Christmas ads in 2023 far surpasses the database norm of all ads tested, driven by high fame and emotional response ratings vs. the norms. There are also some signs that the ads are generally getting better, with the ads tested this Christmas 2023 exceeding scores seen across the ads tested  at Christmas last year – a testament to the great work on behalf of ad agencies and clients in Ireland and the UK.

This week RED C tested 18 Christmas ads on our DIY advertising testing platform, RED C Direct – all of which have featured strongly on our TV’s already this year.


The RED C Direct platform allows us to use our tried and tested RED Star advertising testing formula, which measures what we know matters to make campaigns effective. 

RED Star examines advertising creatives on a number of key effectiveness metrics including Creativity (which we measure through desire to see the ad again), Distinctiveness (measured through it being clear who the ad was for), Fame (how likely viewers are to share or talk about the ad), and Emotional Response (what emotions that ad lights up in viewers).  We also measure claimed Brand Impact of the adds both on the long-term emotional impact, and shorter-term rational engagement with the brand.

The RED Star advertising test produces a one number score that is benchmarked against thousands of ads that have been tested over the past 10 years and allows us to see how well these Christmas ads perform vs. all the others in our database.

It is interesting to note that the top three ads are all repeat adverts, with Woodies “We are homemakers” advert punching in at second overall, and the Cadbury “Secret Santa” advert coming in third. The success of multiple years exposure reinforces recent fidnings that good adverst rarely wear out, and that certainly applies for Christmas ads.  An Post and Vodafone also do well using the same creative as in previous years.

Driving Fame scores appears to be an important aspect of Christmas ads success, and while they generally are talked about more than adverts at any other time of year, this Christmas the industry has been very successful in driving Fame scores 9 points higher versus last Christmas.

Fame is the measurement of how likely you are to share or talk about an ad and is highlighted as being a key driver of effectiveness by Paul Feldwick.  Some adverts that really excelled on this metric include the Home of Guinness advert that wins overall, Woodies ”We are all homemakers” also perfroms very well on this aspect helping to drive it to the number 2 spot in our ranking this year.  , The new Amazon “Joy Ride” advert also does well on the Fame metric, reminding us we are never too old to have a bit of fun, when we see a group of elderly ladies sledging in the snow.

The other area that Christmas ads overperform on is of course emotional response, a vital component to the success of any advertising.   Once again Guinness leads the pack on this aspect, with Woodies also doing well, at pulling on the emotional heartstrings.

TK Maxx Festive Farm – a personal favourite is also hitting the emotive cord but does so in a different way using humour and a familiar tune from Eve featuring Gwen Stefani – let me blow ya mind – add in one large lama and this ad achieves a RED Star score 17 points above norm.

While Tayto also does well to raise a smile with its new Christmas ad,

generating a strong emotive campaign which sees Santa himself get his own gift from Mr Tayto. The ad achieves one of the highest creativity scores.

Lidl also have been successful pulling at the heart strings with an ad including fluffy animals and teddy bears which see emotional response scores 28 points above norm while still maintaining high rational impact scores which ultimately is important in getting people to shop in store.

Care needs to be taken when building the story arc in an ad, however we can see some evidence of strong story lines over shadowing branding and distinctiveness among some of the ads tested. The trick here is to root the story and the brand cleverly together – aside from our number one ad from Guinness, Cadbury do this well with Secret Santa and Aldi with Kevin the Carrot. These three ads score highest on distinctiveness yet also achieve high fame scores. It is worth noting these ads also achieve high rational and emotive brand impact scores.

You can download the full report below

RED Star Ad Effectiveness Christmas Ad Report 2023

If you want to see how your advert or campaign tests against the norm, and vs. these Effie award winners scores, you can test your ad overnight at

For more information on RED Direct or RED Star evaluation, get in touch with RED C at

Richard Colwell, CEO, RED C Research
[email protected]

Bryan Cox, Group Director, RED C Research
[email protected]