Coca Cola Delivers a Refreshing Christmas Ad

Christmas Advert



Say “Coca-Cola Christmas ad” to somebody and you’ll get a predictable response. “Holidays are coming, holidays are coming…” – Coke’s Christmas jingle (and the accompanying iconic Christmas trucks) is one of the world’s longest-running campaigns, and every year we test it it performs very well. Last year “Holidays Are Coming” bagged a 5.2-Star score and, unsurprisingly, achieved exceptional Brand Fluency and Spike scores.

But “Holidays Are Coming” isn’t the only Christmas ad Coca-Cola make. Most years they produce a full-length, story-driven ad too. These usually get less attention and while they score respectably when tested they don’t often feature in our Top 10 – last year’s extra campaign got a solid 3-Star score, for instance.

As in so many things, 2020 is different. For 2020, Coke recruited top New Zealand film director Taika Waititi (who directed Thor: Ragnarok among other movies) to helm its Christmas commercial. Waititi delivered a belter of an ad, an epic telling a father’s fantastic journey to deliver his daughter’s letter to Santa… who turns out to be not at home. But when Santa does show up, we find that he can indeed fulfil the girl’s Christmas wish.

Waititi’s ad scored a terrific 5.8-Stars in the US, one of the top performing ads of the holiday season so far. It’s a great story, one which follows the guidelines laid out by System1’s Orlando Wood in his recent study of what drives attention in advertising: character – incident – place. The film follows a sympathetic character – a hard-working parent. It is rammed with incident. And while it wanders around a bit, its sense of place locks in when the ad arrives at the North Pole and Santa’s house.

The Coca-Cola ad also performs exceptionally on Spike and Brand Fluency, so its short-term impact should be as strong as its long-term potential. An all-round great Christmas ad, then. But what, you may be wondering, about the trucks? Is Coke really ditching one of its greatest distinctive assets? Well, Santa has to give our hero a lift home in the ad. And guess what he’s driving.,..?