Best Christmas ad? AI face-reading tech crowns Heathrow Teddy Bears top

Dec 3, 2018 | Content marketing, Online advertising, Online video, Viral and buyrals

Realeyes measured viewers' emotions and attention levels through facial expressions and body language and found airport ad was most engaging from this year’s festive crop.

Heathrow Airport campaign “The Heathrow Bears Return” is the most engaging Christmas ad of the year, according to new data released today by AI company Realeyes.

The company used its face-reading technology to rank this year’s Xmas ads based on how much attention and emotional engagement they generated from viewers. The rankings also included the percentage of positive comments from viewers after watching the ads.

Realeyes, which uses its AI tech to help brands such as Coca-Cola and Mars maximise the impact of their video marketing, found the ad was the most emotionally engaging among this year’s festive crop and also attracted the highest percentage of positive comments (87%).

The one-and-a-half minute commercial, the latest instalment in the incredibly successful “#HeathrowBears” campaign, which started in 2016, attracted an overall score of 8.99 out of 10, putting it ahead of Debenhams’ “Do A Bit Of Debenhams”, in second spot (8.55).

Visa’s “#KeepItLocalThisChristmas” was third with an overall score of 8.46, while Cadbury’s “Secret Santa” (8.40) and KFC’s Chicken ad (8.35) made it into fourth and fifth respectively.

John Lewis’ Elton John ad did not make the top 10 after only managing an overall score of 7.80. Iceland’s high-profile campaign “Say hello to Rang-tan” and Twitter’s Christmas campaign “#NotARetailStore” were joint 19th (6.83).


Realeyes tested 20 Christmas 2018 ads on a sample audience of 200 Gen Pop UK consumers using its face reading AI technology, which uses webcams to measure consumers’ attention levels and emotional engagement while watching. Participants were also asked for their opinions on the creative.

Ad rankings are based on the following four factors:

  • EmotionAll® score: A 1-10 performance score which compares videos’ emotional engagement across our entire database of over 10,000 previously-tested videos;
  • Attention quality: The proportion of the video which respondents managed to keep continuously attentive for, on average;
  • Attention volume: The average volume of attention respondents paid to the content;
  • Positive sentiment: Currently in beta, this feature reveals the % breakdown of written responses by sentiment (positive, negative and neutral).

These scores were then fed into an algorithm to determine an overall score out of 10. The higher the score, the better the ad was at grabbing attention, eliciting strong emotional responses, and stimulating positive sentiment in its audiences. Realeyes has more than 15,000 ads in its database.

To find out about Realeyes’ technology, download the company’s white papers on emotion and attention.

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