Christmas ad tracker: who’s in tune with their brand?

John Lewis loses out to Aldi, Lidl and TK Maxx in UK Christmas ad music league table.

How much attention do you pay to the music in advertising?

Discount stores Aldi, Lidl and TK Maxx are leading the charge for the most effective advertising soundtracks of the UK 2022 Christmas season, according to sonic branding tester SoundOut.

It tested the soundtracks of 24 UK Christmas ad campaigns and analysed how well they matched the parent brand personality, as defined by thousands of consumers. For each one, SoundOut also measured their emotional impact across 200 emotional brand attributes.     

“While some brands may decide to go for a full on sales activation approach, smart brands use the emotional power of Christmas, and one of the largest annual campaign budgets, to drive long term emotional empathy with the brand itself,” said David Courtier-Dutton, CEO, SoundOut. 

“This ‘look at me, I really care’ or ‘you can always trust me to throw a great party’ may or may not be a better way of shifting mince pies next week, but it is one rooted in long term brand building, which as every marketeer knows, is the secret to long term sales uplift.

“For brands taking this approach it is essential to be authentic. This authenticity needs to come from the heart (or appear to) and one of the most powerful ways to tie the emotion of the campaign with the brand itself is through music. Music that simultaneously captures the empathetic emotions of the storyline and the core brand personality is the best way of creating genuine long term rapport with consumers. This is because music is the hod carrier of emotional bricks, acting deep on the consumer subconscious while the story unfolds.”

Discount brands top the charts as John Lewis falls down the ranks

Aldi takes first place, with an advert soundtrack that holds a 90% match to its brand. The soundtrack follows a clear Rebel/Hero archetype and delivers emotions such as ‘fun’, ‘alive’ and ‘amazing’ – but also comes across as ‘confused’.


Lidl takes second place – the personality of the soundtrack is an 84% match to the brand, as defined by consumers. From an archetype perspective it’s also a Rebel/Hero and features emotions such as ‘contemporary’, ‘innovative’, ‘alive’ and ‘cheerful’.


Third is TK Maxx at 83%, with its top attributes including ‘amazing’, ‘wondrous’, ‘cheerful’ and ‘refreshing’.

However, John Lewis only managed 13th position in this year’s league table, with a brand match of 68%. Despite this, the music’s Companion/Caregiver archetype is a perfect accompaniment to the ad’s story arc. The top attributes being delivered are “sincerity”, “positivity”, “kindness”, “family orientated” and “compassion”.


Here is the full table: