Clumsy Cat And A Cute Meerkat -- The Year That Was In Advertising

It's not a figure that our family agrees with, but the favourite Christmas ad this year is officially Sainsbury's Mog, the cat the ruins Christmas so it can be saved by the family's kind neighbours. The most successful ad of the entire year was -- you guessed it -- another stuffed toy, baby Oleg the meerkat of who decided to stay in Africa and build a new life for himself.

Anyone sense a theme here? Indeed it was last year that John Lewis walked away with every plaudit possible for its Christmas ad with Monty, a stuffed penguin who was looking for a soulmate at Christmas. Turns out the Brits are a soppy old bunch. 

The interesting part of the definitive guide to the year's popular ads, provided in Marketing near the end of each year, shows up an interesting facet -- recall and liking are two very different things. When it comes to recall, John Lewis' #ManOnTheMoon wins hands down with a 60% recall score. To put it into perspective, that is around twice the recall level of the likes of Argos, Aldi, M&S and Asda. However, when it comes to likeability, John Lewis slips behind Mog the cat making a calamity of Christmas.

It's also worth pointing out that the most liked ads don't have to come at Christmas. Oleg's decision to stay in Africa is the most popular ad of the year, with a likeability score of 51%. In fact, if you look at the entire year, only three of the Christmas top 10 -- Sainsbury's, John Lewis and Aldi -- would make it into the top 10 list for 2015.

Another interesting aside is that -- pretty much as you would expect -- the big spenders top the most recalled brands of the year overall. Sky spend a massive £182m to dominate British brands for recall. Interestingly, its arch rival this year, BT -- which took Champions League and Europa League football from it -- spent £113m to come in at 13th place. That's not a lot less money to find itself way down the pecking order. Put it this way: the brands above it other than Sky typically spend a third or a quarter of what BT forked out, yet still their ads have been more memorable for the general public. 

So here are three lessons of the year. Being recalled doesn't mean people like your ad and spending a fortune on an ad won't necessarily make people like it -- but putting a stuffed toy in it is not a bad start. That's the lesson we have from 2015.

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