Analysis: Australia Post 2023 Christmas Ad

Last year, we published our findings from a study of 105 top-scoring Christmas ads, offering a closer look at what elements make Christmas ads perform well with audiences. You can read about it here and here.

This year’s round-up of Christmas ads from the UK is available on our website here.

In System1’s Test Your Ad, each ad is given a Star Rating from 1-star to 5.9-stars, a measure predicting their potential to drive long-term brand growth. In Australia, less than 3.5% of ads land in the 5-Star range. We also measure Spike, which predicts short-term sales impact, and Fluency, which measures the strength of branding.

In the spirit of changing things up a bit, we decided to test a couple of ads from Australia. We were pleasantly surprised to see that Australia Post’s ‘Delivering Christmas for Australia’ 30-second creative has smashed System1’s headline metrics – Star, Spike, and Fluency.

The ad follows a curious Santa Claus as he goes undercover as an intern at Australia Post to work out how they go about delivering gifts at Christmas time. Paired with postie Alex, Saint Nick discovers exactly how Australia Post does it, with no magic needed (source).

But there certainly is magic in how the story is told. And brilliantly so!

One of the best, most effective, and most memorable things advertising can do is make the audience laugh. Whether they use slapstick, punchlines, plot twists, unexpected use of celebrities, or even perfectly placed soundtracks, funny ads feel great.

In Orlando Wood’s Look Out, he digs into theories of humour to work out exactly why laughter is the best (effectiveness) medicine. Humour is flexible: it relies on inversions, surprises, twists in meaning, and odd juxtapositions. It gets the attention of the right side of our brains, whose ‘broad-beam attention’ is always looking out for stuff that doesn’t quite fit. It thrives on the unexpected. The right brain understands metaphors, and implications, sees things from multiple perspectives, and gets the “point of a joke.” And, as Look Out shows, ads that get right-brained attention are more effective at creating lasting impressions and building memorable brands.

Validation against the IPA effectiveness database shows that Amusement is, among the 12 types of happiness, especially correlated with real-world business effects. Only Awe and Schadenfreude (pleasure over the misfortune of others) show marginally greater effectiveness.

Although Amusement is universal, its drivers can be culturally nuanced – and when humour fails it can be useless. Timing and execution are critical. And Australia Post’s latest Christmas ad pulls it off effortlessly.

Experience the magic

At Christmas, we want to believe magic is all around us. And there’s no better way to build characters and emotions to grab engaged attention than to introduce some merry magic to the character’s built-in ads. Australia Post’s ad brings to life this distinctive Christmas magic, celebrating the joy of holiday gifting through imaginative creativity, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy.