In the race for the most memorable TV ad campaign, it has been cat versus the man on the moon. John Lewis’ Christmas advert, usually a hands-down winner, has faced stiff competition this year from children’s favourite, Mog the Cat, the star of Sainsbury’s effort.
Last year, Sainsbury’s advert was set in the First World War trenches and provoked a divisive reaction. This year, the tone is far more light-hearted, and centres on Judith Kerr’s story of a Christmas Calamity, featuring the famous feline.
YouGov BrandIndex’s set of data suggests that in terms of Ad Awareness (whether a respondent has seen an advert for a brand in the past two weeks) Sainsbury’s has now equalled John Lewis. Its score has risen an impressive 18 percentage points since the campaign was launched. It did, however, start from a higher base as our chart shows. What’s more, its Purchase Consideration score – whether a respondent would consider buying a product from a brand – is now at its highest point for six months.
Sainsbury’s has added a real life aspect to its campaign and has sold out of Mog toys, with supply unable to keep up with the demand. The tie-in Mog book has stormed up the bestsellers’ list, with all profits going to Save the Children.
Read more: Sainsbury's is feline festive this year
As with John Lewis’s Monty the Penguin from last year, this strategy means the advert becomes more of an experience. Sainsbury’s has also followed John Lewis’ lead in reducing emphasis on its actual goods, in an effort to minimise the obvious commercial motivation of their campaign.
Earlier this month, German discounters Lid and Aldi achieved a 10 per cent market share for the first time.
Traditional high street retailers must maximise income over the Christmas period to regain their position in the industry. Sainsbury’s bosses will be hoping that the warm response to their festive tale will be a gift that keeps on giving and lasts into the new year.
£ Stephan Shakespeare is the chief executive of YouGov