Move over Mog and Man of the Moon: Science says we loved Harvey Nichols' "gift face" more than the Sainsburys and John Lewis Christmas adverts in 2015

Lynsey Barber
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Scientists tracked eyes and facial expressions

Move over Mog and Man on the Moon, it's Harvey Nichols' "gift face" Christmas advert which really connected with us and made us feel something this festive season.

If you haven't seen it, the ad features a recreation of the day itself and the less than inspired gift giving which takes place on it, urging us to avoid "gift face" - you know the one, a grin/grimace - by shopping at Harvey Nichols.

Now, scientists say it's the advert of the year which elicits the most reactions from us. Measured by the tracking people's facial expressions while watching ads, the Oxford University-founded Realeyes identified, Kwik Fit's "santa surprise" and Currys' "secret santa" ads followed Harvey Nichols for emotional engagement, turning the traditional rankings of Christmas ads (surveys and video views) on its head

Read more: That Robert Dyas Christmas ad: What were they thinking

John Lewis' traditional cry-fest managed only joint seventh this year when last year's Monty the Penguin hit the top spot.

John Lewis remains the undisputed champion for publicity and hype but in terms of connecting emotionally with consumers, many brands outdid them this year,” said Realeyes chief executive Mihkel Jaatma. “John Lewis’ ads have become increasingly out of this world and fantasy-based, consequently, they’re becoming harder to identify with."

And it seems this year lols are taking over from tears.

"We’re seeing a move away from the kind of heavy-handed emotional approach," added Jaatma. "Harvey Nichols, Kwik Fit and Currys did brilliantly because it was about situations we’ve all been in – putting a brave face on disappointing gifts or seeing children’s reactions on meeting Santa.”

Harvey Nichols has previous form, with its 2013 ad "Sorry, I Spent it on Myself" ranked the most engaging Christmas ad ever.

These are the adverts that gave us all the Christmas feels this year.

1. Harvey Nichols - Gift face

2. Kwik Fit - Santa surprise

3. Currys - Secret Santa

4. Mulberry - Miracle

5. Vodafone - Terry the Turkey

6. Aldi - Telescope (John Lewis spoof)

=7. John Lewis - Man on the Moon

=7. Body Shop - Jingle Bells

9. McDonald's - Journey to Christmas

10. M&S Food - Taste of Christmas

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