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C is for Culture

In our next A-Z of adtech we are looking at how culture plays heavily on how ads are received by audiences around the world. Our Insights team have analyzed this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert to find out how it resonated with viewers in the UK.

Check out the advert below if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet.


Emotional Analysis

Portraying Sir Elton John’s career in reverse drove a strong emotional response amongst UK viewers, led by remarkable warmth, happiness and nostalgia. Allowing viewers to follow Elton’s journey touched many.

This was linked back to Christmas by reaching the origin of a young boy receiving a piano from his mother on Christmas day, giving new meaning to how much a gift can do for someone; ‘Some gifts are more than just a gift’.

The ad came across as authentic, this was likely due to many viewers finding the depiction of Elton John true to his career, character and journey, which reflected well on the brand. The portrayal came to life even further by capturing the fashion in which Elton’s voice has changed over the years. Showing the lengths to which John Lewis was willing to go in order to do the journey of this national treasure justice.

Over the last few years John Lewis’ Christmas ads have gained certain traction and every year expectations are high, with many expecting the brand to create an ad depicting a magical and heart-warming Christmas.

As a result, many viewers had a somewhat underwhelming experience towards the ad, which in turn affected brand favourability. Furthermore, purchase intent also came in below the UK norm. This was likely due to the representation of a relatively expensive gift and not one that many families could afford for Christmas.

top three emotions chart

Cultural Analysis

Having a relatively strong leaning towards informed implies the UK has a preference for information and details. As a result, the relatively detailed nature of #EltonJohnLewis evoked intense happiness and nostalgia amongst UK viewers. This allowed them to thoroughly enjoy, follow and reminisce about Elton’s life and career.

Meanwhile the UK culture’s somewhat functional leaning indicates this market favours a slightly stronger link between the brand and the content. To understand the link not only between the retail chain and Elton John, but also to have a stronger connection to Christmas. The lack of this likely inhibited the overall positive response, which was further evident by the relatively low increase in brand favourability.

Emotional state points to how easily a market tends to display emotion. With the UK having a relatively anxious culture people are more likely to worry and to be open and expressive. This cultural leaning worked in the ad’s favour as it allowed viewers to become more emotionally involved with the storyline. It also allowed them to feel remarkable warmth and nostalgia towards Elton’s journey and how a Christmas gift can set the course for such a remarkable future.

culture chart

To find out more about UnrulyEQ culture testing click here, or get in touch with our team by clicking here.